Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Literary Gods Continue to Smile Down On Me!

This time, we go all the way back to 2008 for a book that was very popular at the time.  But one that I just never read and, more to the point, didn't care about reading.  Shows you how much I (don't) know. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an absolute gas. The book was written by Annie Barrows and her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer (who, unfortunately, passed away the year the book was published). Why was it beneath my literary station in life to read Pie before, but not now?  Well, I have a good answer for that.  Annie is a Northern California resident.  And you all know how I love local authors.  Plus, oh by the by, I'm always looking for new RBC authors!

Here's the thing about Pie:  The authors make every character feel like someone we know.  It's truly amazing.  The backdrop is the Occupation of The Channel Islands during WWII.  (The Channel Islands are an archipelago between England and France, near Normandy.  Guernsey is 1 of 8 islands in this group.)  So, it's not exactly a fun time in Guernsey.  And, yet, the authors choose to focus on the human side of the war - the relationships, the fortitude, the caring, and, yes, even the humor.  You would think that a book with this subject matter should not have humor.  But you would think wrong.  Humor is what helps the reader (and the characters) deal with the bad stuff.  And there is certainly some of that.  But in the midst of all this bad stuff is a whole bunch of good stuff.  

Instead of reciting a blurb, let me quote Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame):  I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren't my actual friends and neighbors. Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough.  Well said, Elizabeth.

I often tell you about my tears and chills and more tears.  But this book actually amped up my reactions.  Look at some of these:  Big smile, "Wow," "OMG," "Ah," head shaking/nodding, and a large "Whew!"  Not to mention a literary event late in the book that legitimately had me nervous.

As I look back at my notes, I see the word "love" being used a lot:
I loved Juliet using Bella Taunton, who didn't even like Juliet, as a character reference.
I loved how excited the island was to have Juliet come visit.
I loved when Juliet actually got to the island.
I loved Kit...period.
And there might even be a little romance that maybe I loved!

All in all, this is a heckuva good book.  Goodreads has a score of 4.12/5. And Amazon is 4.6/5.  Tens of thousands of people can't be wrong...can they?  Maybe...but not this time.  If you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I know you will feel the same way about it that I do.