Thursday, July 5, 2012
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Also known as the longest title ever
I've never been one for stories set in a past I could picture, or revolving around a war I couldn't relate to. I hated Pride and Prejudice for the former, and steered clear of every WWII related book for the latter. It's not the past that I can't get past- I adore Sherlock Holmes and other books that take place in history- it's the meek and demure characters.
Maybe it's just Jane Austen.
In any case, I began The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society expecting to want to turn it off immediately. I get this horrible notion sometimes that I ought to read a book because it will be "good" for me- that the fact that it has so many fans means that it has some literary merit and will improve my life (see: almost every book recommended for high school students). I just don't like them and usually wind up torturing myself to their close. After repeatedly hearing the praises sung for this book, and finally being confronted with it at Walmart, I finally gave in and told myself that it would be character building for me to abandon the world of cozy mysteries and fantasy romance.
I downloaded the audiobook from the library, and again, in my fit of desperation of being without my computer for a whole week, finally started listening to it. It only took two letters before I was hopelessly hooked.
While the book is incredibly predictable, it's not predictable in a bad way- it's more like when you see your favorite movie over and over again, and even though you know the guy wins the girl, you can't help but hold your breath and root for him. (On that note, I wound up watching You Got Mail for perhaps the ninetieth time this morning. That may explain my utter sappiness. I can't help myself when it comes to Meg Ryan's romances). The other extenuating circumstance is probably that I fell in love with epistolary novels from a young age. I blame the American Girl franchise's Royal Diary series. Those novels combined my love for royalty (my nickname is Princess for a reason!), and the warmth you get from reading a letter. This love for letter-based books manifested itself in fanfiction and Meg Cabot's American Girl when I hit my early teens. Now, apparently I've moved on to the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
I absolutely adored this book. I fell in love with Juliet, and anxiously bit my nails waiting for her interactions with Dawsey. Isola was great comic relief, and I thoroughly enjoyed the influence Sydney had on her. Each and every character was likeable, and as the book neared it's close, I frantically wished that it would go on forever. The ending was rushed, as I understand it, it was written while the original author was sick, which explains the slight difference in writing style. It was still satisfying, though I had to wonder why the authors would have Juliet declare that the engagement isn't the end of the story- yet her story ended with her engagement! It wasn't logical.
In any case, I can see myself reading this book over and over again. While I wasn't moved to tears (something rare with books but common with TV, movies and even commercials), I did stay up until four in the morning listening to the end. I just couldn't seem to make myself pause it!
I left the book dreaming of my own love letters. Frighteningly enough, I'll be forced to either write letters or face no communication with Monkey later this summer. I'm not looking forward to it, as romantic as this book made it seem. ..