Thursday, March 11, 2010

Literary Bite: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Oh, it’s just a nothing silly little story. I kind of expected that when I started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I mean, just look at the cover and the title! (Let’s be real, who doesn’t judge a book by its cover?)

I’m not saying it’s a bad book. It’s just not particularly awesome or memorable. If you’re going to read a WWII book about the German occupation, do yourself a favor and go for Suite Française instead.

My main problem with this book is the epistolary style. A novel through letters? Really? The main character is an English author who exchanges correspondence with her publishers, her friends, her lover, and most importantly, with the members of a literary society on Guernsey Island (in the Channel between Britain and France). The whole letter thing is kind of a clever and different way to tell a story…but it is way too hard to keep track of who is writing letters to whom. And because of the letter style (and I suspect also because there are two authors), none of the characters are particularly well-developed.

BUT the book is a NYT Bestseller. And it’s going to become a movie. So what do I know? When books are described with adjectives like delightful, charming, cute, precious, timeless I should probably just steer clear.

But maybe you will love it and tell me I’m a hopeless literary snob. And maybe I am...I’d be interested to hear what other people who have read the book think.  

Check out a complete reading guide here.

YouTube interview with the author.


  1. Whenever a book becomes a NYT bestseller/movie it's always something that I didn't think was much good.

    I haven't actually read this one, I've heard such mixed reviews.

  2. totally disagree on this one moz. i loved this book, as did my book club, and i thought it was a different way to tell a story about WWII. suite francaise was SO SAD so this was a nice contrast. hope we can still be friends.

  3. Haha, I won't be offended, everyone is entitled to their own opinion - and actually, I'm not that surprised that you liked it! (Not in a bad way, like I said, I didn't HATE it or anything, I just didn't think it was that great.)

    But could you keep the characters straight? Am I just slightly unintelligent?

  4. Poor Folk by Dostoevsky is an epistolary novel. I thought it was really good.

  5. I had exactly same opinion on this -- I thought that since it was so popular it would at least be enjoyable, albeit fluffy. But I couldn't even get into it thanks to the epistolary roadblock. I will try Suite Francaise -- thanks for the recommendation!

  6. I've never read this book but I had the same thought about the cover! I am so with you on Suite Francaise though.