I really wanted to review this book for today, but I have to be honest: I didn't finish it in time. And I think this is one book I will have to finish completely before I make up my mind on it. Nevertheless, I'll write about it today, and then you can read it and make up your own mind.
So throwing last week's post completely out the window, I read this book. Well, I listened to it, as I do with most books. I said I dislike reading books that everyone is currently reading, but everyone is reading this book right now and I did it anyway. Maybe I'm a hypocrite, a liar, inconsistent. Whatever. The library had it available, so I downloaded it and now we have a a partial review of a book I have yet to finish reading.
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: 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.
I already told you I haven't finished it. I'm well into the second half though, so I do have a few things to say.
Unlike when I was in school, I now read for entertainment (escape!) not for information. I've read all about WWII and Hitler, and honestly, I don't need to revisit it. Ever. (There are those who would argue that). This story takes place right after the war and shows the characters trying to put their lives back together, trying to deal with their losses, and finding hope in hopeless times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society did this through reading. It brought them together, it let them escape for a time from the hardships they faced, it solidified their friendship, not to mention it raised a child that otherwise would have had no one.
It raised a child? Well, yes and no. I stopped the audiobook and wrote down this quote, which I feel is one of the main things the book is about. At least for me. See, because everyone takes away from a book what they need at the time. And anyway, this is what I wrote down in my little notebook:
"But sometimes I think of Charles Lamb and marvel that a man born in 1775 enabled me to make two such friends as you and Christian."
The society member, what's-his-name, is talking about making friends with a woman he doesn't know who lives across the English Channel from him and man who was one of the German soldiers who occupied Guernsey, his home, during the war. He is talking about unlikely friendships formed because they all three identified with the same ideas of a particular author.
That's sounding vague, but anyway, that is the piece of this book that I identified with. You can check for my full review on Goodreads after I complete the book.