Tuesday, October 5, 2010

book report: the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial Press, 2008).  As in, finished this morning.  This was a quick read, especially as I found myself reading in every spare moment over the past 2 days or so.  It never even made it to my "currently reading" list.  But just because the reading went fast, doesn't mean it wasn't without substance or value, in fact, quite the opposite! I think I will have this book in my mind in some way for a very long time.  It tells the story of the Island of Guernsey (U.K.) during the German occupation of WWII, through the eyes of Juliet, a journalist who becomes connected with these people shortly after the war.  Told in the form of a series of letters, it draws you in, and honestly by the end, you feel that you too know the characters like close and dear friends.

The impact of this book on me was that of awareness of suffering.  I was born long after this great war, and it truly humanized all the textbook reading of my high school years to paint a portrait of real people, real suffering, and in the midst of it, triumph through friendship, and yes, books.  It reminds me of the smallness of my own "suffering" (it seems pride to even call it that) in the little hurts, challenges, and difficulties that I face. And it gives me hope to persist in these little sufferings, to trust God, to be strong, to live each day for itself, and to love those around me even more dearly. 

It is cliche to say it but I shall:  I laughed. I cried.  I loved the characters, and I miss them now that I am finished this novel. It changed me for the better, really.  Read it.

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