“The old adage – humor is the best way to make the unbearable bearable – may be true.” – Thoughts on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Forgive me if I succumbed to public opinion, but I have been enjoying reading books on, well, books – or writing, or authors, or something to that effect – and this one was everywhere, books-on-books categorically speaking. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was a good enough read, too, though there was more Guernsey and literature and not enough potato peel pie in it.
Let me tell you what it’s about (or maybe just a gist): it’s about Juliet, a writer/columnist, who receives a letter from Dawsey, a practical stranger from a little island off the coast of France that is Guernsey, who got his hands on a book that was formerly hers – and as with any other story involving books and serendipity, they start a correspondence. This exchange of letters grows to include Dawsey’s accidental book club, Juliet’s childhood friends, her publisher, and her mysterious suitor. What started out with a secondhand book on Charles Lamb ends up becoming a book in writing about the people she corresponds with. A lot of other books were mentioned in the process.
As for the unbearable: this was set in 1946, just after the Second World War, and the characters all have sad, painful, and unforgettable war stories to tell. The way they made these stories less horrible was by telling them with humor, and it is with humor, too, that they learn precious things about each other. “I think you learn more if laughing at the same time.” This is true indeed.
It is, in all honesty, not a book that sticks, but it is a good read nonetheless. Come to think of it, it feels like that dependable friend that you may not often get to see, but is easy to remember when memory beckons him.
I hope you have as much a good time reading it – maybe even more – on the chance that you do.
PS. I didn’t catch your first name.