The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer
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In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation; what is the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy?

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Your original post contained eight questions, most of which asked for some kind of personal response from you as the reader. I edited them out and was left with this one, which is an excellent question.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, is an historical novel written as a series of letters between writer Juliet Ashton and others in her life, including the members of a literary society which started meeting during the German Occupation of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Their correspondence begins as a happy accident, but soon these people begin sharing their experiences and something new happens.

Each of the Literary Society members tells his or her own story. They are personal and poignant, often funny, and each letter provides a piece of the picture of life during a terrible time of war. One letter by one person would not have the same impact as multiple letters by multiple people, none of them aware of what the others were writing. They reveal their honest, personal memories and experiences, and often the same story is told from different perspectives. 

The effect of these letters is a consistency which reveals the true character of the German Occupation of Guernsey. Though each one had different individual experiences, the overall experience was the same for each of them. 

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