I'll admit it: I'm nervous to talk about this book. I'm half-certain that as soon as I get started, my second grade teacher will come out of nowhere and say sternly, Inside voice, Jennifer!
And she'd be right. Every time I recommend this book to someone, I'm pretty sure I deafen them... BUT I LOVE IT SO MUCH.I was at the dentist's last week, and when the hygenist found out I was a writer, she asked for book recommendations. My brain went absolutely blank for a moment, lost in the land of fluoride. She went back to work as I thought, and then the cover of this book came into mind.
Forgetting that anything was in my mouth, I blurted, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!" nearly harpooning my tongue on that sharp hook that dentists use.
So. I could have bled to death in my earnestness to talk about this one, but it would have been worth it, it's just that good.
It has all the makings of my favorite sort of story: it is, once again, a book about books and about people who love them. It's also an epistolary novel--a story written in letters... which makes me so giddy I could just fall off my chair... ahem.
But I love letters. I believe in letters. And this is a book full of them.
The characters are brilliant. Juliet Ashton is a writer living in post-World War 2 London. She begins corresponding with a group of people on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. And as I got to know Juliet, her London friends, and the people of Guernsey through their letters and stories, I really wanted them to be my friends.
No, I mean really. Could someone please teleport me into this book? Right now, please?
I don't know what I was expecting when I first read this, but it blew me away. I wasn't expecting to love a novel that deals with World War aftermath--I usually shy away from war books of any kind. Not sure why--if I'm just spineless, or if I'm stressed out enough that I don't want to read anything with "gripping!" on the cover.
But I couldn't call this a war book really. Maybe because it's the characters that are front and center. The warm, wonderful characters, not the ugliness of war. It serves only as the backdrop for these amazing people.
And I really did adore every single character. The quiet ones, the suave literary one, the crazy outspoken ones... especially them. (If anyone meets Isola, please let me know.) A few times, they had me in absolute hysterics. And then several pages later, a letter would stun me with another haunting story from the war.
As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. I also wanted to write letters to everyone I knew, as well as everyone I didn't know. I most definitely wanted to get back to England, to see the Channel Islands this time, to get my own cottage, to befriend a child as amazing as Kit, and to read and discuss books with other dear people.
It is, altogether, one of the most perfect books I've ever read. There.
Recommendation: Well, I suppose you could make a potato peel pie... yeah, it doesn't do it for me either. Maybe an apple pie instead? With coffee, of course. Or tea, if you'd like to be properly British. Pie, tea, and a sunny window seat.