Bad books are like skim milk. Thin. Forgettable. Sometimes regrettable.
Good books are like the fabled cream–they rise to the top.
Thank goodness for good books (and, for that matter, cream).
Many years ago (don’t we all marvel sometimes at how time flies) after reading a memoir set about the same time, my friends Courtney and Lorna recommended I read the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Well, I started it. Twice. And though I’ve culled my collection of books at least four times since 2011, I still had my unfinished copy of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ novel about the writer Juliet in my library.
So, by directive of the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge, which required me to read “a book you started but never finished,” I pulled out the story of a fictional literary society on the island of Guernsey south of England. And finished it. And I liked it very much.
The story is told almost entirely in the form of letters to and from Juliet, which is quite clever. It’s set post-World War II, when Europe is still remembering and recovering from the terrible atrocities of the war (including tragic descriptions of meager meals required to accommodate the island’s occupation of German soldiers–which will make you crave a swig of stomach-filling milk). So despite being fictional, it is quite illuminating. There’s humor. And an orphan. Don’t forget the tonic-pushing witch. There’s a love story, too. And a message about the underlying redemptive value of books (which, for a person who’s pledged to read 63 books this year and is currently four books behind being “on track,” is message I can appreciate).
There’s pretty much a little of everything to appeal to everyone (except a recipe for Potato Peel Pie, which is excusable, given its description), and I can’t believe it took me four years to finish it. Quite a shame. Because it’s a delightful book (and there’s just no other word for it). So if you haven’t read your copy, pick it up right now and force yourself to get past page 67, and you’ll be hooked.