Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pub. Date: May 05, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780385341004
304pp

Here’s the blurb from Barnes and Noble:

London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.”

My Thoughts:

I didn’t like this book. There, I said it.

I know! I must be the only one on the planet who didn’t. I’ve heard nothing but favorable things about it but I just don’t feel that it lived up to all the hype. For one, I didn’t like Juliet at all. Actually, that’s not entirely true because I liked her at first. I found her correspondence to be mildly humorous but as the book wore on, I tired very quickly of the written banter between her and basically anyone else.

At first I thought that the format of the novel is what was getting to me, but no.. it was Juliet. I didn’t mind reading correspondence from the other characters in the book and found all of the supporting characters to be quite charming. I enjoyed the premise.. the idea of creating this club as an alibi for breaking curfew. I felt that it was well written overall, I just didn’t like Juliet. She seemed one dimensional to me and although my feelings were not as harsh towards the end of the book, I just wasn’t in love with it like I thought I would be and I really, really wanted to love it.

I know there are a lot of you out there that loved this book but I had a hard time finding true reviews of it. I did find one from Booking Mama. Click here to read her review. If you have a review you’d like me to link to, please leave me a comment and I would be happy to include it.

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27 thoughts on “Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

  1. oh no! So sorry. I really enjoyed this one, but I can see what you are saying. I certainly have bestsellers that I hate, it is normal for not everyone to like a book.

    Hope you love your next read!

  2. I’m so glad you were honest! I want to read this one but I’m afraid that I’ll be disappointed after all the hype.

  3. I resisted reading this one for awhile, but unlike you, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I’m sorry you didn’t care for it. But like Bermudaonion says, not every book is for everybody.

  4. I haven’t read this one. It honestly hasn’t grabbed me, despite all the good word of mouth. I’m a little bit glad that you didn’t like it 🙂 – makes me feel a little better about my lack of interest!

  5. oooo.. .I have this one in my pile.. I have been waiting for your review as I know you were reading it during the read a thon. I have to read it now to see if I agree. 🙂 I sort of roll that way. ha ha.. but your review doesn’t make me rush to pull it from the pile. LOL

  6. hey, not everyone is going to love every book. i personally loved this book and have recommended it to several friends. however, i hated breaking dawn by stephanie meyers and all of my friends just loved that book. so, i know what its like to not love the book of the hour. oh well. there are plenty of books for everyone to enjoy and they don’t all have to be the same books. hope you enjoy your next read!!

  7. Yours is the first negative review of this book that I’ve seen. And actually, it makes me happy. One commenter recently mentioned on my blog that a negative review sometimes gets her even more excited about a book, and I have to agree with that. When all I read is happy gushing about a book, I’m sort of put off, thinking it can’t possibly be that good. But a negative review – with reasons spelled out in it – is very helpful and gives me perspective. So thanks!

  8. I’m glad to finally see someone dislike it, it’s too hard on a book for everyone to love it. I, of course, have not read it yet, but have it in the pile.

  9. Sorry the book wasn’t fun for you, but I’m glad you just honestly said what you think. I liked it quite a bit, but sometimes Juliet seemed a bit dim, so I can understand why you might not have liked her at all. If I don’t like the main character, it’s kind of hard to like the book.

  10. The first time I picked it up I put back down because I couldn’t get into it. A month later I tried again and enjoyed it, who knows why the words of certain books work for us sometimes and not others:)

  11. Well, I did like this book–found it charming, really, but certainly it was pretty lightweight! Isn’t that what’s great about book blogging–there are so many interesting opinions out there 🙂

  12. I’ve never read this book. But I know how you feel when it comes to not liking a book that tons of other people loved.

    I heard such great things about the book Eat, Pray, Love. And I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I was so bored by it that I didn’t even finish it.

  13. I enjoyed this book but didn’t care for the ending. I listened to this book, so that might have made a difference. I can see what you’re saying about Juliet. There wasn’t necessarily much too her character. For me, the other characters made up for that. For you, they didn’t. It’s a simple as that.

    I always wonder why I don’t enjoy a novel when “everyone else” does or vice versa. What others have said here is just true – not every book is for every person.

  14. It’s OK not to like a book, even when “everybody else” does 🙂

    I’m reading this for a book group this week (haven’t started yet!)

  15. You know I tried reading this book from the library at one point and wasn’t too fond of it and didn’t finish but then after all the great reviews I kept seeing I picked it up on sale at the bookstore. I haven’t tried reading it again but I’m thinking you may not end up being the only one who doesn’t love this one. lol.

  16. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, but It’s nice to see another perspective…gives me some additional information to work from when i ever get to reading it.

  17. Sorry this one disappointed you, but I appreciate the honest review. It took me a few pages to get used to Juliet, but after that I didn’t have a problem with her. Would it be okay if I linked to your review on < HREF="http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/" REL="nofollow">War Through the Generations<>?

    –Anna
    < HREF="http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">Diary of an Eccentric<>

  18. My book club is reading Shaffer’s book as this month’s selection. I am sticking with it in order to fully participate in our discussion, but do not find it a particularly compelling read. Because so many people are writing back and forth in the context of the book, you wonder who certain people are because they don’t otherwise appear frequently. It takes awhile for the real crux of the story to develop, and Juliet is at first a pretty flighty character. I don’t think the plot is developed well – it moves in fits and starts. Learning about Guernsey was an interesting bit of history – and since I always appreciate the other perspectives members of my book club bring to our discussions, I’ll look forward to what they have to say.

    1. I was definitely in the minority with my book club when I voiced my dislike for the book but you know what? Even though they loved it there wasn’t much in the way to discuss. I truly do not understand why it was such a hit. Thanks for stopping by to comment. Let me know what your club says about it.

  19. Oh, good! I’m (finally) reading this one for book club, and although it’s okay, I find myself wanting to skim some of the letters. Every review I find seems to praise it. It’s fine, but I’m feeling rather ‘meh’ about it. I will soldier on, but I’m glad to be in good company!

    1. Usually, if I don’t care for a book, I can usually see why others might, but in the case of Guernsey, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what all the fuss was about. It just seemed so “meh” to me. I guess it’s being made into a movie. Joy!

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