The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Surabaya, Indonesia, June 18th, 2012

Dear friend,

I’ve just read a wonderful book called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” a few weeks ago, and I thought that I’d write a personal letter to you recommending it.

What first comes to your mind when you hear “World War II”? War must mean blood, chaos, ruthlessness, hope running out; don’t you think? Well, this book was set at the end of the World War II. The main character was Juliet Ashton, a writer for the English weekly Spectator under the pseudonym Izzy Bickerstaff. With her humorous writings Juliet brought the minds of people away from the war for a while. Juliet might have been famous for her Izzy Bickerstaff columns, but she had much deeper passion when it comes to literature. She also wrote a biography of Anne Brontë, which was sold poorly. When she was looking for a subject for her next book, she was accidentally corresponding with Dawsey Adams from the Guernsey Island, who told her about the book society he’s been involved in, how was the society accidentally formed during the German occupation, and how books changed the bitter lives of its members during wartime. Driven by curiosity, Juliet asked Dawsey if she could correspond to other members of the society, and BAM! Her wish was granted. She wrote and received long letters from almost all of the members, only to realize that she fell in love with them and she longed to read more from them. I won’t spoil much plot of the book, but you will find surprises as you turn the pages, surprises that would make you smile long after you finished it. I particularly liked the character Juliet, a woman who would dump a guy because he didn’t share her love for books (whoops!). Guernsey was written by Mary Ann Shaffer and continued by her niece, Annie Barrows.

Have you ever hear about Guernsey Island before? Yes, Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables during his period of exile in Guernsey. It is a British Crown dependency in the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy. I attached the map and some photos of the beautiful little island if you’re curious.

Back to the book, it was written in epistolary method (told in series of letters). It was warm and sweet, witty and romantic, you’ll fall in love with the characters (well, not all, thankfully), and it tells a lot about the love for literature. Anybody who loves books and literature should read this book. But mind you, men might not enjoy this book. It was like chick lit set in the 1940s era, written especially for book lovers. By page 11 I found one of my favorite lines of the book:

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

And in page 16:

“I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers—booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one—the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it—along with first dibs on the new books.”

And this one line in page 56 reminds me so much of the Indonesian Book Bloggers (BBI) community I’m involved in:

“We read books, talked books, argued over books, and became dearer and dearer to one another.”

Ain’t that sweet? 😀

So, my dear friend, if you are curious much after reading my letter, I suggest you grab a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, as soon as possible. And do you know, the book is filming at the time being with Kate Winslet as Juliet Ashton! When you have read the book, if you loved it, maybe we can watch the movie together. See you when it comes!

Truly yours,

Book details:
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
305 pages Paperback, published May 2009 by Random House
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Character Thursday [7] – Juliet Ashton

Untuk Character Thursday minggu ini, saya memilih tokoh utama dari novel historical fiction yang baru selesai saya baca, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society karya Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.

Klik pada gambar untuk info dari Goodreads

Juliet Ashton

Juliet Ashton adalah seorang penulis yang diceritakan hidup pada masa Perang Dunia II. Walaupun sempat menulis biografi Anne Brontë, Juliet lebih terkenal dengan tulisan-tulisannya di mingguan Spectator  yang merupakan hiburan di masa perang,  ditulis dengan pseudonym Izzy Bickerstaff. Melalui artikel-artikel ini Juliet hendak mengajak pembaca untuk sejenak melupakan kemuraman dan kegelisahan karena perang.

Juliet yang sedang mencari bahan untuk menulis buku terbarunya, secara tidak sengaja berkorespondensi dengan penduduk pulau Guernsey, dan menjadi terikat dalam persahabatan oleh… buku. 🙂 Nah, mengapa Juliet yang pandai dan menarik belum juga menikah di usia 32 tahun? Sedikit spoiler, rupanya Juliet sudah pernah hampir menikah, namun akhirnya ia mencampakkan calon suaminya itu. Karena saat Juliet pulang ke rumahnya pada suatu hari, ia menemukan rak-rak bukunya kosong melompong, isinya sudah dipindahkan ke kardus-kardus, dan gantinya piala-piala olahraga si calon suami yang mejeng di rak-rak itu. Huahahahaaa… nggak heran si Juliet marah besar… 😀

Saat browsing-browsing tentang buku The Guernsey Literary ini, saya menemukan bahwa buku ini sedang dalam tahap pembuatan filmnya, dengan aktris Kate Winslet yang memerankan Juliet Ashton! Wah, selama Kate nggak tampak chubby, rasanya cocok banget jadi Juliet yang cantik dan cerdas. Soalnya Juliet kan hidup di masa perang yang makanannya dijatah, gitu lho…

Anyway, review buku “manis” yang mengambil setting pada akhir Perang Dunia II ini segera terbit ya. Tungguin!


Character Thursday

  • Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
  • Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.
  • Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.
  • Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.

Syarat Mengikuti :

  1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
  2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
  3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
  4. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di post ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
  5. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik…

Nah, siapa Character Thursday mu minggu ini?