28 Apr 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer.

It's January 1946 and writer Juliet Ashton sits at her desk, vainly seeking a subject for her next book.

Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dewsey Adams of Guernsey- by chance he's acquired a second hand book that once belonged to Juliet- and, spurred on by their mutual lover of Charles Lamb, they begin a correspondence. When Dewsey reveals he is a member of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet's curiosity is piqued, and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As the letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

Where to begin with this novel- which isn't a novel as such, more a series of notes written between several individuals.

It is different- very well written and crafted , I'd even go as far to say it was very humorous in places, just not my type of read I'm afraid. Because of the way in which it was written the characters never seemed to develop fully and I couldn't seem to follow the plot- once put down it was quickly lost so I seemed to be constantly re-reading passages which I found most frustrating. On a more positive note I believe this book would make an excellent radio programme or theatre production, or, like poetry, I might even have found it more enjoyable if it had been read to me or I had listened to it as a "talking book".

Sadly as this was Mary Ann's first and only book, it was first published in Great Britain in 2008- the year she died aged 74,we will never know how she went on to develop as an author.

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