Wednesday, December 22, 2010

book ends book list: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

14. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I read this book early this summer, (even though I received it about a year ago from T’s cousin, who works at Random House) and I’ll admit that I was skeptical when I started it. It is a book that is in its entirety, dozens of letters between dozens of people. I have never been a big fan of novels or short stories written in letters, or even with letters included. I usually find them gimmicky, and feel that it is extremely hard to make the characters engaging simply through their writing alone.

However, this book was different. The authors of this novel found a way to really let their characters shine through in their letter writing, and I found the entire book simply lovely. It made me long for the days of snail mail, when people wrote about their feelings and dreams rather than just emails and texts about what we do. I am a huge fan of any book set around WWII, and I just ate up the historical information about the German occupation on the island of Guernsey, between England and France.

While the book is untraditional in the sense that it is only letters, I still find myself recommending it to many of my friends looking for a new book to read. It's a quiet, leisurely, unexpected read that I know I will reread again in the future, if not only for fun, but also to try to learn how the authors accomplished what they did, and what I can borrow for my own writing.

L. Stacks

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