Tagged: fiction

The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society

Before I even start – this book was hard to put down from the first page onwards.  By the time that I got to the final fifty pages I knew I could not stop reading until I got to the end.
I have always loved the Channel Island of Guernsey.  I spent many happy Boys’ Brigade camps there growing up and a wonderful summer working in a hotel.  Did I mention the summer romance?  Guernsey was, and possibly still is, my ultimate place to feel safe.  If I ever ran away you would probably find me here.I’ve always been fascinated by how resilient the Channel Islander’s were during the German occupation.  The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society captures a real sense of being there in the moment in a powerful but gentle way.  Character’s are developed naturally, the story unfolds like a petal on flower opening up as the sun rises and calls to a new day.  I was left longing for a period when thoughts were expressed in letters and we actually communicated our feelings in whole sentences with the benefit of elapsed time between each response.

The society provided a bond that no invading army could break.  A society that looked after each other when the world was dark and bleak.  A society that dared to be different without being different at all.

As Juliet discovered the charms of all that Guernsey had to offer, as she visited places that I had forgotten  that I loved many years ago.  I fell in love again with the people, the places and the peace of the island.

Shaffer and Barrows skillfully show that you don’t need violence or high drama to hold the reader close.  What you do need is relationships and community or in the books case a Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society.

http://www.amazon.com/Guernsey-Literary-Potato-Peel-Society/dp/0385341008

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When You Are Engulfed In Flames

by David Sedaris

I have this habit with books, once I start one I am determined to finish it. A book that takes me two days to read is very good (in my opinion) a book that takes longer……. I started to read David Sedaris’s book about nine months ago.

I appreciate books that are mini essays. I really like books that describe real life and are sharp in their observations, plus if they are witty then all the better. This book has it’s moments, some characters are very well developed, occasionally the last sentence of a chapter reveals a thought or an alternative perspective. For me though, the book lacked direction. All the way up to the last few pages I was hoping for a final twist that would tie everything together, but it never came.

The final chapter did have one gem of a line “If God knows that I don’t believe in him, why would he go out of his way to help me?” – I’ll come back to that one.