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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by and

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. What was it like to read a novel composed entirely of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing (not even emails) can convey?

2. What makes Sidney and Sophie ideal friends for Juliet? What common ground do they share? Who has been a similar advocate in your life?

3. Dawsey first wrote to Juliet because books, on Charles Lamb or otherwise, were so difficult to obtain on Guernsey in the aftermath of the war. What differences did you note between bookselling in the novel and bookselling in your world? What makes book lovers unique, across all generations?

4. What were your first impressions of Dawsey? How was he different from the other men Juliet had known?

5. Discuss the poets, novelists, biographers, and other writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What does a readers taste in books say about his or her personality? Whose lives were changed the most by membership in the society?

6. Juliet occasionally receives mean-spirited correspondence from strangers, accusing both Elizabeth and Juliet of being immoral. What accounts for their judgmental ways?

7. In what ways were Juliet and Elizabeth kindred spirits? What did Elizabeths spontaneous invention of the society, as well as her brave final act, say about her approach to life?

8. Numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation. Which voices were most memorable for you? What was the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy?

9. Kit and Juliet complete each other in many ways. What did they need from each other? What qualities make Juliet an unconventional, excellent mother?

10. How did Remys presence enhance the lives of those on Guernsey? Through her survival, what recollections, hopes, and lessons also survived?

11. Juliet rejects marriage proposals from a man who is a stereotypical “great catch.” How would you have handled Juliets romantic entanglement? What truly makes someone a “great catch”?

12. What was the effect of reading a novel about an authors experiences with writing, editing, and getting published? Did this enhance the books realism, though Juliets experience is a bit different from that of debut novelist Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, childrens book author Annie Barrows?

13. What historical facts about life in England during World War II were you especially surprised to discover? What traits, such as remarkable stamina, are captured in a detail such as potato peel pie? In what ways does fiction provide a means for more fully understanding a non-fiction truth?

14. Which of the members of the Society is your favorite? Whose literary opinions are most like your own?

15. Do you agree with Isola that “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones”?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 18 comments:

Carol CC, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by Carol CC)
This was a pleasant surprise. The story was by turns sweet and sad and heart-rending and funny. There were times I laughed out loud and times I was moved to tears. The characters are wonderfully drawn -- all of them people you wanted to have as friends or neighbors or both. Guernsey was painted as a charming place that I've added to my travel wish list. The all-letters format made me yearn for the "good old days" when cards and letters were the only way to go. This one's a keeper.
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Marilyn Grendele, September 10, 2011 (view all comments by Marilyn Grendele)
Curl up with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and be prepared for a wonderful trip back in time. Feel the bravery, fear and humor on Guernsey Island during WW11.
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Megan Zeeck, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Megan Zeeck)
This book was incredible! A must-have for any book collection. I was very pleased to have this book recommended to me by a work colleague. Extremely relevant in today's society, which has come full circle with the era in which this books takes place. Written completely in letters, the characters feel safe to disclose so more information that one possible could in the via verbal communication (1940's "texting if you will). This book will be a favorite of all ages.
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Product Details

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Dial Press
Shaffer, Mary Ann Fiery
Barrows, Annie
Barrows, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie
Shaffer, Mary Ann
Barrows, Annie Fiery
Women Authors
Literature-A to Z
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;historical;friendship;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;books about books;love;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;historical;friendship;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;love;books about books;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;friendship;historical;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;love;books about books;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
Publication Date:
July 2008
Grade Level:
8.55 x 5.7 x 1 in 0.85 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Random House - English 9780385340991 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Perfect for book groups, a charming series of letters make up this short novel set in post-WWII Europe. The correspondents, drawn together by their love of books and affection for each other, collectively tell a moving tale of endurance and friendship in the shadow of war.

"Review" by , "Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, this is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word. This marvelous debut novel, sure to have book club appeal, is highly recommended."
"Review" by , "I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren't my actual friends and neighbors. Treat yourself to this book, please — I can't recommend it highly enough."
"Review" by , "Though it deals with a dark period in history, this first novel is an essentially sunny work....The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a sweet, sentimental paean to books and those who love them."
"Review" by , "Elizabeth and Juliet are appealingly reminiscent of game but gutsy '40s movie heroines. The engrossing subject matter and lively writing make this a sure winner, perhaps fodder for a TV series."
"Review" by , "Written in the form of letters (a lost art), this novel by an aunt-and-niece team has loads of charm, especially as long as Juliet is still in London corresponding with the society members."
"Synopsis" by , London, 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of Guernsey during the German occupation, and about a society as extraordinary as its name.
"Synopsis" by , As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey — a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.
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