Favorite Books

This post is dedicated to thoughts and musings about my favorite books over the years that are near and dear to my heart.

  • First, I will share the circumstances as to why I picked up this book in the first place.
  • Then, I will give a three-point summary of the book.
  • Lastly, I will share some of my favorite moments from the book that were rich and sustaining, leading me to place this book on my Faves list.

Please enjoy this month’s book review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Circumstances

My husband and I were busy, new physicians. Despite the demands of practice, we enjoyed patient care and the rigors of medicine, yet we also wanted to start a family. We decided I would take a step back from work. I traded the stress of a medical practice for the stress of a complicated pregnancy. I didn’t have time to read anything that wasn’t pregnancy related. I needed to get this pregnancy “right”.

Subsequently, I—the pregnant woman—became a new-mother-of-an-infant. If you had peeked through my curtains, you would have seen me struggling to: nursethebaby-bathethebaby-clothethebaby-soothethebaby-getthebabytosleep-and-repeat. I focused entirely on my bundle of joy who was, at times, not joyful. I didn’t have time to read.

One day, a casual acquaintance and I were pushing our infants in their strollers to the local park. As all moms do, we landed on the topic of our babies’ sleeping habits.

She stated, “I put Suzie to bed around 7:15 pm, then I get myself a glass of wine, head to my art studio, and paint for a couple of hours.”
I smiled pleasantly (totally fake!) and said, “How lovely,” with Mr. Green Monster Envy draped around my shoulders. I thought, “How does she have time to paint, create and have space for herself, and I’m happy if I can remember to toss the dirty diaper in the diaper pail before passing out on the bed?” By this time, it was almost two years since I had read a book for leisure. That evening I decided it was time for some self-care. My first step towards
that end? Reading. It took me a minute to translate my thoughts into action, but eventually, I went to the bookstore.

I had heard wonderful reviews about a certain book…with trepidation, I entered Barnes and Noble and asked for the ‘Potato Peel’ book. The bookseller led me directly to it.

Three-point summary

This is a story about a young, British, writer, Juliet, who, after World War II, befriends the members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in Guernsey, Channel Islands. The story is set in motion all because one of the members (Dawsey) wrote Juliet a letter searching for a book by author, Charles Lamb.

Juliet eventually travels to Guernsey where she meets this wonderful, eclectic, literary group and falls in love with the island, the people, and their community.

The Guernsey community starts to process and make sense of the five-year occupation of their island during WWII by the Germans. They heal by telling Juliet their stories. The characters find they have a great capacity to love as parents, friends, and lovers.

Favorite Moments

I loved the book immediately when I chose it from the Barnes and Noble shelf. It fit my hand and fit into my pocketbook (read: diaper backpack).
I enjoyed this novel because of the co-author. While Mary Ann Shaffer was no stranger to books and storytelling, this was her debut novel at an advanced age. (There was hope for me, yet)! The very original title piqued my interest. There are approximately twelve characters in the book, and all of them have personalities that I came to love (or loved to hate). The way relationships grew was gradual and stepwise, quiet and steady. The book’s letter writing format was endearing and even made me read it in a quiet and steady manner.

The plot was sophisticated, yet not overly complex to confuse this newly restarted reader.

Guernsey presented a slice of World War II history in a way in which I could either delve deeper into the historical, factual accounts, or I could simply read bypassing the depth, and continue with the glorious story. I also appreciated the novel’s dry humor.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was confirmation to me, that yes, it was time for me to slow down and take care of myself. I was worth it. Guernsey expanded my imagination and rekindled my love for reading. As it says on page 32 while Juliet is thinking about the philosophical value of reading, she says, “Reading keeps you from going gaga.” How true. Guernsey refreshed me and my love of a good story.

If you need a boost in your reading journey, or a figurative warm hug, I wholeheartedly suggest finding a cozy corner and your copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Remember to return for a new favorite book title and review next month. See you soon. ~Amara