06 March 2010

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

I usually don't read books with what I classify as a 'stupid title'. When I see a book with a stupid title I'm instantly turned off. I see it as an attention seeking device, so I respond by ignoring it completely. I know this is stubborn, but there are so many books out there that you have to have some sort of screening processes in place.

Needless to say, this was one of the books I ignored up until now due to it's ridiculously long title and the attention grabbing 'potato peel' mention, which is supposed to make the reader ask "wow, what could that be about, I'd love to find out so I'd better buy/borrow this book". To me it's just annoying. Other annoying titles (while we're on the subject), include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Porcupines and China Dolls.

On this one I was sticking to my guns, however I didn't fail to notice it's increasing popularity and it's movement up the Best Sellers list. I finally bowed to the pressure when it was reviewed by a staff member from my favourite bookshop Reader's Feast in Melbourne as 'her favourite book of 2009' and a friend highly recommended it to me via Visual Bookshelf on Facebook.

Of course I was pleasantly surprised, as the book had no direction to go other than upwards from my first impressions. The format surprised me and instantly reminded me of the classic Dracula in it's compilation of letters. I enjoyed the subject matter and also fell in love with the characters from Guernsey and their plight during the German occupation. I felt it was a light, easy and swiftly moving book, and due to the short sections I often read for longer than I would a regular book with standard chapter lengths.

I'm glad it lived up to the hype and I've now decided it's definitely worthy of the rave book reviews. Usually I steer clear of 'hyped up books' or the book of the moment, however I'm glad I dived in on this one.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I know what you mean by the title putting you off. I was put off for a while from this book because it seemed like it was being too cute and also that it was a name of a club / society. It put me in mind of those smarmy book premises that are about somewhat strangers who get together for a club but learn about love and life and blah blah blah. But I was glad to be very wrong about Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Very fun style and a good story!

  2. N.B I need to confess here that despite the comments above, I went on to read 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' in December 2010. It was recommended to me by a friend and I had to put aside my issues with the title. And I'm so glad I did! It was a fabulous and touching read and I gave it 5 stars. Click here to read my review: http://myfourbucks.blogspot.com/2010/12/curious-incident-of-dog-in-night-time.html


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!