The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

Juliet Ashton is a successful writer looking for something new and different about which to write after the end of World War II.  She has spent the whole war writing a column of pithy observations and now she wants to not write about the war.  The only problem is, she has no idea for a new book.

That all will change when she gets a chance letter from a man on the island of Guernsey, who has ended up with a book she sold to a second hand store and who wants recommendations of further reading by the author, Charles Lamb.  This sets off a whirlwind of correspondence between Juliet and the members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

This really was a very lovely little book.  The epistolary format was a bit hard to get into at the beginning, but once I got into the swing of it, it worked very well.  This is definitely a book for book lovers, it almost seemed as if Schaffer was writing a love letter to written language.

I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but I cannot be quite as effusive about it as other reviewers have been.  Perhaps the huge hype build-up let me down a bit.

Buy this book on Amazon.

26 comments to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Book Review

  • This is in my TBR pile and I’m anxious to get to it. Like you, I have heard lots of good things, so I hope my expectations aren’t too high.

  • I hate when that happens with books and movies. I always try and tone down my expectations whenever anything has gotten a ton of hype.

  • I just received this one in the mail and am looking forward to reading it. I know what you mean about too much build up. That’s happened to me before with certain books too.

  • Your review is the first one that didn’t sing praises for this one. That will help me when I finally read this one so I don’t get super hyped about it. Just like movies, if I expect less than I’ll like it more. Thanks for the review Jen!

  • I really enjoyed it, but since it had been so hyped I wasn’t actually expecting much. I actually think this book will make a lovely film and I’m not married to it so I won’t be undone if it’s altered.

  • Over-hype is almost always a bad thing. I think it was best when I went into this book without really knowing much besides people liked it. I’m sorry you didn’t love it, too, but it’s hard for anything to live up to massive amounts of buzz.

  • I hope nobody’s getting the idea I disliked it. I really did like it, just didn’t crazy love it like so many people have.

    Hopefully my review will bring some people’s expectations down a bit, and then they can love it!

  • lindymc

    I was struck by your comment about the novel being a love letter to the written language. Three different times while reading this book, I copied out a passage into my book journal. I loved the book; one I will keep to re-read.

  • I enjoyed your review. This is one of those books I keep picking up but never bought. I think this will be going on a birthday list. My husband is always looking for things to get me. Great review!

  • I don’t have it yet, but I do plan to read *Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society*. Yes, the hype can lead to an unreachable expectations … thanks for taking them down a notch for me (really!)

  • Thanks for the insightful review. I think I must be the last person on earth who has not read the book. I have read so many posts on it. As to your comment about how this is a love letter to language, authors write probably because they’re forever in this love affair with words. :)

  • I tried reading this a while back and maybe it was just the wrong time for me but I couldn’t get into it which made me wonder because everyone had been raving about it so much. I may give it another go one day.

  • I have this on Audible and I’m looking forward to listening to it. I hope to get some pretty fall walks in while I’m at it. I’m about half way through Home by Julie Andrews. Once I’m finished with (but I love her voice and hope that I never am), this one’s next. Thanks for the great review!

  • Oh! i have read so much about this book too! i am glad u liked it!

  • I bought this one a few weeks ago, and I am really anxious to get to it. I’ve not yet seen a truly negative review, so I hope I haven’t set my expectations too high.

  • Debbie

    I just read this book for a month long club at B&N. I hadn’t heard of it when I signed on and started reading. I was interested because one of the authors was going to be with us for the whole club. I wasn’t sure if it would be my kind of book but I loved it! And the author Annie Barrows was terrific. She was very generous with her time and her responses to our questions. Her aunt was the other author but she became very ill in the final stages of the book so she asked her niece (an author of children’s lit) to do the editing and finish work. Unfortunately she passed away before the book came out but she did know it had been sold. I thought they made a great team.

  • I had to finally break down and order it yesterday. I try not to let the hype about anything effect me too much. I dislike being disappointed.

  • I know what you mean about the hype, I’ve been hearing about this one since August lol. I haven’t read it yet though.

  • I’ve been hearing both good and bad things about this book, but from your review, I think I’d like it. I love the idea of it being “a love letter to written language”!

  • I keep hearing about this book. I may just have to go and pick me up a copy.

  • I do have really high expectations for this now … which can be bad. But it’s def. on my list to read.

    Ever read Ella Minnow Pea? This seems like it could be a bit similar (albeit not as “high concept”)

  • I was worried when I bought it because it was the Barnes and Noble recommends book. I don’t ususally buy those type of books. But I ended up loving it. My aunt said it took her awhile to get into the letter format too. I had no problems because I have read books in blog format, letters, etc. I hope they do make it into a movie. :)

  • does the book explain why the society is about/called “potato peel society?” i think that is the primary reason i’m interested in this book is because the words “potato peel” are in the title…

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