logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Mary-Ann-Shaffer
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-26 18:57
A love story you won't soon forget
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

I struck gold because I didn't think I'd fall so deeply in love with a book so quickly after finishing up The American Way of Death Revisited but then along cameThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer. GUYS. This book was a joy to read from start to finish. I gobbled it up in 2 days and then felt absolutely bereft when it was over. If you enjoyed 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (this is the reason I picked it up) then you will love this book too. Told in letters and telegrams this is the story of a group of people living in a small town in the Channel Islands called Guernsey and their interactions with a Londoner (and writer) named Juliet. Juliet had made her name (except it was actually not her name but a pen name) writing a popular humor column during WWII but at its close (and the beginning of our story) we find her in a bit of a writing rut and looking for her next challenge. This is when she receives a letter from a man in Guernsey who has found a book about Charles Lamb with her name written inside the front cover. This is the beginning of her interest in the place, its people, and its creation of a literary society which saw them through the war and their occupation by German soldiers. While it starts with correspondence between Juliet and Dawsey (the man with the book) it soon blossoms into back-and-forth communication with the other members of the Society (and a few Islanders hellbent on its dissolution). A common thread runs through much of their remembrances of the occupation and the start of the Society and it seems to center around Elizabeth McKenna who while not an Islander came to play a pivotal role in so many of their lives. There were quite a few "WHOA" and "THAT explains it!" moments while reading this book (as well as quite a few tears I ain't gonna lie). I think it's impossible not to fall in love with this book and its characters. 10/10 and absolutely gutted there won't be more books written by Shaffer in the future.

 

PS Someone informed me they adapted this for film and I AM LIVING FOR IT. (Lily James is one of my faves so ya'll know I'm gonna be watching this at my earliest convenience.)

 

What's Up Next: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I don't even know anymore

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-25 14:21
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer

When Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams on Guernsey she thinks it a friendly and welcome piece of correspondence. She writes back, unaware that doing so will spark an idea to circumvent her writer’s block, set up many new correspondences, introduce her to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (and discover the reason for its name), lead her to new friends and to discover what life was like under German occupation. When she visits the island little does she realise that her life will never be the same again.

 

Don’t be fooled by thinking that a book composed of letters won’t be engaging or interesting. This book is  both and then some. From the first letter this reader was caught up in the lives of Juliet, Sidney, Dawsey and the other Guernsey residents. It may be that some find the writing style difficult to engage with. Usually I’m all for not struggling with a novel. In this instance I’d recommend persevering. Soon the reading letters instead of chapters becomes second nature.

 

The epistolary technique works in such a way that the reader is left with the feeling that they are intimately involved with the characters; that they have become true friends. The style of the book requires some filling in of gaps, reading responses to unseen questions but it soon feels as if this is the only way the story could be told. Each character is defined by their letters. Their style of writing, of relating incidents and histories is laid out in each correspondence. They are rounded out by portrayals and discussions in other letters so that a full picture can be formed. There are characters that never write letters who become integral to the story, Elizabeth being the main one. She is the one that ties the characters together, that helps bridge any gap between Juliet and the islanders.

 

The story goes much deeper than a literary society and writer’s block. It is story of the German occupation of Guernsey, an insight into what life was like cut off from the outside world. It is a story of friendship, both old and new, of loyalty and of love.

The moment I turned the last page I wanted to immediately return to the beginning, so loath was I to leave the characters behind. A warm, moving, funny, all-encompassing novel.

 

Highly recommended.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-26 06:11
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

I don't really remember liking this book when I first read it (I didn't dislike it either though). I do remember distinctly thinking Dawsey was a 70-year-old man. Spoilers (but not really), he's not and this time around I caught all the references to how he's not 70 years old. But his character really feels like a 70 year old man.

 

I mostly reread this one because it was available on Overdrive and I needed something easy to pick up and put down when it's slow at work. If you liked this, give 84, Charing Cross Road a try. It's like Guernsey, but better. And real.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-01-11 17:55
M. A. Shaffer, A. Barrows "Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek"
Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek - Annie Barrows,Mary Ann Shaffer

Juliet Ashton, młoda pisarka, autorka książek o okupacji, szuka pomysłów do kolejnej publikacji. Niespodziewanie dostaje list od Dawseya Adamsa. Mężczyzna, zafascynowany twórczością Charlesa Lamba, prosi ją o pomoc. Wspomina także o Stowarzyszeniu Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek, założonym przez mieszkańców wyspy Guernsey z powodu pieczonego prosiaka. Zaintrygowana Juliet nawiązuje korespondencję z Dawseyem i pozostałymi członkami grupy. Decyduje się również odwiedzić ich osobiście. Mieszkańcy wyspy, dowiedziawszy się, że zbiera materiały do nowej książki, chętnie dzielą się z nią wspomnieniami z okresu okupacji. Juliet bierze też udział w zebraniach Stowarzyszenia i pomaga w opiece nad czteroletnią Kit - córką Elizabeth (wywiezionej do obozu koncentracyjnego) i niemieckiego żołnierza.

 

Książka, napisana w formie listów, jest pełna ciepła i humoru. Mimo nieustannie powracających motywów związanych z okupacją, całość tchnie optymizmem, uderzająca jest pogoda ducha bohaterów i nadzieja na powrót do względnej normalności. Wzrusza, porusza, zmusza do refleksji, ale momentami również rozśmiesza. Szczególnie zabawne okazało się zebranie Stowarzyszenia, podczas którego Jonas Skeeter miał podzielić się swoimi wrażeniami z lektury "Rozmyślań" Marka Aureliusza:

 

Stanął na środku pokoju, ponuro rozejrzał się po obecnych i oznajmił, że nie zamierzał przychodzić, a tego głupiego Marka Aureliusza przeczytał tylko dlatego, iż napuścił go jego najstarszy, najlepszy i b y ł y przyjaciel, Woodrow Cutter. [...] Przełknąłem zatem dumę i przeczytałem tę głupią książkę. A teraz mówię przy wszystkich i głośno: Wstydź się Woodrow! Jak mogłeś wcisnąć coś takiego najlepszemu przyjacielowi!

 

Co zatem łączy miłośników literatury, placek z kartoflanych obierek i pieczonego prosiaka? Przekonajcie się sami, polecam!

 

 
Source: ogrodksiazek.blogspot.com/2014/09/m-shaffer-barrows-stowarzyszenie.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-01-01 14:40
"The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - epistolary novel packed with strong voices and deep emotions
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

About forty-five minutes in to this eight hour novel, I was on the verge of giving up. I liked the writing and the pace but I couldn't engage with the apparently privileged middle-class characters sharing light-weight banter about publishing and book tours, immediately after the end of World War Two. They and the book  seemed to lack substance and I was getting ready to move on. I promised myself that I'd stop after ninety minutes if things didn't get better.

 

They did get better. Dramatically better. So much so that I feel I would have missed something quite special if I hadn't persisted.

 

Looking back, I realise that the light-weight banter I was unsatisfied by was a forced cheerfulness shared by old friends trying to come to terms with the end of hard times and discovering that, once something bad has happened to you, it becomes part of you. You carry it with you like a scar or a shrapnel in your flesh. It is has changed you, is part of you but, with the help of light-weight banter and the love of good friends, need not define who you are going to become.

 

I started to engage with the book as soon as the letters from Guernsey started to arrive. These were people I wanted to know and who had stories that I wanted to hear.

 

As they were meant to, each letter pulled me further and further into the world of the Islanders and fed my hunger to know what the German occupation had been like for them: what they had done, what they had lost, whether and how they could build a future for themselves from the ruins of the war.

 

The audiobook format is a perfect match for the epistolary novel form, with different narrators bringing each correspondent alive. Every narrator did a splendid job in creating a sense of identity and growing intimacy as the novel unfolded.

 

Normally, I don't do well with novel about the behaviour of the Germans in World War II. Too many books seem to glory in the details of the atrocities or push for the easy-to-claim-in-retrospect moral high ground. What I found compelling about this book was the very personal nature of the disclosures, grounded in individual experiences where one has to decide whether to do what is right or what is safe, where one becomes or is made, more or less human by each decision and where the highest form of bravery is not giving way to despair in the face of inhuman behaviour.

 

There are many passages in this book that moved me to tears; many stories that I know will stay with me, even though I would rather not have them in my head. So much for the book being too light-weight.

 

Yet this book in neither a dirge nor a lament. It is a book about the joy of life and love as much as it is about sorrow and loss. There is a love story, delicate, slight but wondrous all the same, at the centre of this book. There are also friendships and kindnesses that lift the spirit.

 

By the end of the book, I began to wish that I too could visit this version of Guernsey and become an honorary  member of its literary society.

 

I've seen some reviews that criticise the novel for not being focused enough on books, implying that the title and the literary society are marketing gimmicks disguising an entirely different type of novel.

 

I understand this view but I don't share it. The book does not focus on books. It focuses on readers, on why they read and why they need to talk to others about what they have read. 

 

I came to understand how a single line from Shakespeare can "who says most when he says the least" can help a man crystallise his reaction to calamity and face it with greater calm, how the letters of a man dead for centuries can guide a lost and damaged reader back into society and how a tale written for a grieving child can bring hope and happiness years later.

 

In my view, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" holds up reading and discussing with others what one has read, as an activity that can sustain humanity in the face of brutality, not by providing an escape route but by refreshing the roots of our humanity: a shared human condition, a shared and constantly evolving imagination and the ability to surface truth and emotion and give them their due.

 

I recommend this wonderful book to anyone who loves life and books and the readers who connect the two.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?