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Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Another week, another book! This week's read comes inspired (once again) by the streaming giant, Netflix! I watched the movie before I read the book (which I rarely do) believe the book to always be better. While I think this book was the tiniest bit better, the Netflix movie did a good job with the source material, and cast a hottie to play the male lead!

If you need to catch up on why I do my weekly book review, look here!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is told entire in letters passed back and forth between heroine Juliet and those around her. The story begins just as WWII ends. Juliet wrote a series of columns, which were turned into a book, and now she is on a book tour to promote her book. But, she's growing tired of writing as Izzy Bickerstaff, and is looking for a new story to write. By chance, she gets a letter from Dawsey Adams, a farmer from the island of Guernsey. He wrote to Juliet because he found a book that belonged to her, and wanted to see if she could find him more about the author.

The two begin corresponding, and before long, Juliet finds out he's a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Dawsey explains that the Society was founded on accident, after a group of him and his were caught out after curfew on their German occupied island. Elizabeth McKenna made up the lie that they were leaving their Literary Club, and so their began meeting, and discussing books, to keep sane during the war. Soon, Juliet begins writing with the other members of the Society, and decides that a book needs to be written about Guernsey during the Occupation.

She soon departs for Guernsey, but not before getting proposed to by her beau Markham Reynolds.

After arriving in Guernsey, and getting to meet the members, Juliet realizes there is much more to the story than a simple literacy club.

She quickly falls in love with Elizabeth's orphaned daughter (Elizabeth died in a concentration camp) and decides she would like to write about Elizabeth so her daughter would have the memories of her mother. Juliet decides to adopt Kit, and remain on Guernsey. She also realizes that she has fallen for the quiet, stoic Dawsey. She rejects Markham, and the story ends with Juliet asking Dawsey to marry her, and him accepting.

I really enjoyed reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I haven't read very many books that are written entirely in letter form, so it was an interesting change of pace. It did become confusing, every once in a while, about who was "speaking" but not enough to distract me from the book. I thought the author's managed to create very flushed out characters, and a very flushed out plot, just using letters. It was very well-written in the whole. With no real action taking place, the reader is still able to visualize everything that is happening.

Stylistically, I found the book a little lacking. There were some excellent passages, but most people are not to flowery in letters, so that was to be expected. It didn't really bother me with this book (as with some others) since it was written in letter format. I did like that each person's correspondence had a little bit of it's own style; it helped to flesh out the numerous cast of characters that are introduced.

I found the setting to be beautiful. Again, while we as the reader do not really get to see it, only read about it in the letters, the author's do it in such a way that you still get a very clear picture of the island and its inhabitants. This is one of those novels were the plot plays a huge role in the progression of the novel is it was important to see the island being fully developed.

In terms of it's similarities to the Netflix movie (of the same name) I found it kept very close to the source material. I still (of course) liked the book better, but the movie does do it justice. The movie may be a little more dramatic at some parts, but it kept the overall feel of the book, and the casting of Dawsey was on point!

I give The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows an enthusiastic 5 out of 5!

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