Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

First off, I don't usually like novels in the form of letters. Except 84, Charing Cross Road.

Second, I don't like books with cutesy titles. It sounded like it had to be a fluff novel, even though most reviews I read said it was not. (Of course fluff is in the eye of the beholder. And there's nothing wrong with fluff; really. I sometimes like fluff. But sometimes not.)

So I am not sure why I decided to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I guess it was all the glowing reviews. And I've been fascinated with the Channel Islands since I read Green Dolphin Street as a teen.

So, after a long wait - it's a very popular book! - I received my library copy.

Hm.... what to say? I'm glad I read it. I did find it mostly fluffy, though there were some serious bits about the war, in particular about a beloved resident of the island lost in it. I think that aspect could have, and should have, been developed more. There were some subplots that were just outlandish and unnecessary. Funny, but I didn't understand why they were there. And I found I started to dislike the main character/letter writer; her writing style was too breezy and self-conscious for me.

I did love the descriptions of the island, and the people who lived there - and their letters. Those characters were drawn well and I liked them. I learned a bit about the German occupation of the channel islands, of which I had known nothing.

Maybe I just want a funny book to be funny, and a serious book to be serious, and this had elements of both. Maybe this was more realistic - of course life is both funny and tragic at the same time. But, it didn't really work so well for me.

Hm, what a dull review. It's an enjoyable book, not great. But most people disagree with me, so... check it out for yourself. And let me know what you think.


Sandy said...

I did like this book, but I agree that the characters could have been better developed. The ending was especially unsatisfying for me since very little time had been give to that part of the story. I think it was a good book, but somehow unfinished. I realize these thoughts were left out of my original review. I think that's why I don't get paid for these things. I'm picking up The Apothocary's Daughter today. I wasn't going to read it, but since you are...

Marbel said...

Well, I am not so sure about The Apothecary's Daughter anymore. I did get it from the library and flipped through it a bit this morning. Doesn't look like my type.

I pick up a lot from the library that I never actually read.