Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
With so many delightful characters, it was hard to single out a favorite. We especially liked Isola Pribbey's observation, "reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad one." Apparently she was not too delicate as Juliet noted she "doesn't approve of small talk and believes in breaking the ice by stomping on it." Juliet's humor was always a relief. It's through her encouragement that Isola decided to become the new Miss Marple.
You would think it awkward to read a story told through letters but the author did it flawlessly. We did like seeing how the writers and readers related to one another - tender bits were revealed, having been told in the confidence. Kathy liked it that Elizabeth had pinned Eli with her father's wings for bravery during his relocation and then later those wings showed up in Kit's box of special memories - somehow revealed through various letters.
I thought it was nice that the author was able to keep the book light while revealing some of the horrors of the occupation. Mary agreed, noting the letter Juliet received from someone protesting the cruel treatment of the pets left behind. We laughed at the sanctimonious Adelaide Addison, but really didn't give the book the time and discussion it deserved. Still, it was a delightful December book selection.
Maureen said that she has friends who never read fiction, thinking that fiction is less than nonfiction. She asked if we had friends like that, and several of us responded yes. I asked how many of us would have known about the German occupation of the Channel Islands, were it not for reading this book. Only Jenny raised her hand. We laughed. I remembered that in a Political Geography college class, our professor had defined a people as sharing a common language, religion and literature, and that literature was subject to confiscation as a method of control. We disagreed that you don't learn through reading fiction as we all felt we learned a lot through this book and we will remember it.
The Christmas potluck was fabulous, possibly the best and most copious ever. Following desert we played the pirate exchange game with books. I think it's also called the white elephant game. It's certainly the longest meeting in our history, though you wouldn't know it from the short blog post.