After my second reading of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I stand by my initial review. This book is simply enchanting. But that doesn’t make for good bookclub discussion, so I’ll answer the first two discussion questions I asked you to consider as you read.
Is this your first book of letters — fiction or non-fiction? If so, do you like this particular writing style? Why or why not?
Guernsey was my first book of letters. After reading it, I’d like to read a non-fiction book of letters. I think letters give insight to a person that you’d not otherwise have. Which leads to the second question I asked:
Do you think Guernsey would have been the same if the author had employed the typical fiction narrative? Would it have been better, or worse?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Guernsey works because of the letters. If the book had been written from any one character’s perspective or from a third-person narrative, I don’t think I would have fallen in love with the characters as I did. This time through, I marked some of my favorite lines (with bookmarks, as I was reading a library copy and couldn’t write in the book!) These quotes revealed sides of the characters that I’m not sure a narrative could have conveyed.
Lamb also taught Hunt’s youngest daughter to say the Lord’s Prayer backward. You naturally want to learn everything you can about a man like that. (Juliet to Dawsey)
Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books. (Isola to Juliet)
What on earth did you say to Isola? She stopped in on her way to pick up Pride and Prejudice and to berate me for never telling her about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. (Juliet to Sidney)
Mrs. Guilbert has always been a nasty one, but now I know that she can’t help it – she’s got a big pit in her Benevolence spot. She fell in the quarry when she was a girl, and my guess is that she cracked her Benevolence and was never the same since. (Isola to Sidney)
He (Dawsey) did not say much at our first meeting – nor at any of our meetings since, come to think of it – but let him walk into a room, and everyone in it seems to breathe a little sigh of relief. I have never in my life had that effect on anyone, can’t imagine why not. (Sidney to Sophie)
And these are just a few of the many reasons why I adore this witty, funny, and even tear-jerking work (it’s one of my 5-Star Reads). I could go on forever, but I want to hear your thoughts.
What say you about Guernsey? Did you enjoy your visit there as much as I? Please link up your post in the Linky or leave your thoughts in the comments.
Melissa has been captivated by books for as long as she can remember. She resides in Virginia and blogs at Breath of Life.
Upcoming bookclub schedule:
October 6: Rooftops of Tehran
November 3: Any work by Louisa May Alcott
December and January: off months — eat some extra holiday pie
Love the quotes! LOVE this book!
Carrie, Reading to Know says
LOVED my visit there. So glad I read it and it will be read again (and again) in the future!
Jennifer, Snapshot (&5M4B) says
ARGH! I didn’t get to it, because I had to shift my reading to a last-minute read that I had to get to for our giveaway/review post tomorrow!
However, I’m hoping to get to it before the end of the week and post up then.
I enjoyed the book, but I felt it got a little silly towards the end. I loved the beginning, and got all excited, then it sort of disintegrated into Oscar Wilde letters and smugness, if that makes sense. I noticed it was started by one woman and finished by her niece, and I wondered if maybe that was what happened. Anyway, for me, 3 stars. Enjoyable, light, cute.
Heather J. says
I loved this book! Thanks for letting me post the interview I did with the author (I’m #4 in the list above). I so enjoyed speaking to her – hopefully everyone will enjoy reading it just as much. 🙂
Great review. I had every intention of rereading this book before the club, but I didn’t get to it. I am going to read it again anyway. I really enjoyed the letter format. It was a nice change, and I felt it made the story more personal. I loved all the characters…what personalities!
I Loved, Loved, Loved this book! Though it is not my first book of letters, it has been the best so far.
I didn’t write a review, but here is a link to a post of thoughts I had after reading this book in June. http://ingoodetime.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-thoughts-on-guernsey-literary-and.html
I’m a day late, but my review is up. Thanks for featuring this book…love, love, love it!
Jennifer, Snapshot says
I enjoyed it and FINALLY linked up!
My fearless reader friend Jennifer let me borrow this book – I liked it. It was a perfect vacation read, and the characters’ letters were witty in their banter; I felt like I was peeking into someone’s private world. Letter writing seems like a lost art, so I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars for its creativity.
I just got my hands on a copy of this book from the library, I could not put it down and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. I admit I have always liked letter formats in books so I don’t struggle with this concept. There was something about how everyone was drawn into it and every angle was covered that I so enjoyed, thank you for letting me discover the joy of reading this book!!
a little late, but it’s there!