The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am quite unsure between 2 or 3 stars so i'll settle for something in between.

I had several problems with this book.
First of all, and it has been mentioned endlessly by most people who reviewed this book before me, the writing style. Not only the epistolary form doesn't work very well in this instance - it does feel forced and tiresome at times, just by keeping track of who's writing what to whom - but the same letters, by so many different characters, are too similar in style to one another too be believable. There is a certain effort - a few grammatical mistakes, slight differences in style - to differentiate, but these differences are not nearly enough to justify letters which are supposed to be written by people coming from such different strata of society and with such different education - or complete lack thereof.

Second, the plot is a bit stretched. The main idea was good - i enjoyed reading about the Occupation, it is a period in history i don't know very well and certainly not from a British point of view - but there were many things so unlikely to happen in real life that it spoiled the good idea. I am not talking about Elizabeth McKenna, whose story is the fulcrum around which all the other character's stories gravitate and is the teary element of the situation - but i am talking about the unlikely relationship between Juliet and Dawsey, one a writer, the other a carpenter(?), who practically never talked to one another and all of sudden decide they are madly in love and get married about the even more so unlikely relationship between Juliet and Kit who is an abnormally wise little kid and who suddenly decides she loves Juliet better than all other guardians she has had up to then, up to the point that Juliet decides to adopt her and live happily ever after in Guernsey married to her dear Dawsey . These are two of the subplots that felt a little forced to me, especially the former, who developed and came to a conclusion in the space of the last 4 pages of the book, through a retelling of Isola.

So all in all, I thought the book was ok but I cannot share the raving reviews it got and i think it could have been planned and executed definitely better.


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