Book Review: 5 Reasons You Should Read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

If someone whispered the words “secret literary society” in your ear, would you get the warm-fuzzies and follow their directions to the next meeting? If so, this book is for you.

What is it about really long book titles that makes them so intriguing? I think my obsession started with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It just rolls off the tongue. You can’t help but want to say it. I’m also exceedingly fond of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, a tragically charming, hysterically funny, breathtakingly-real look at the life of a teen boy on a reservation. And while I’ve never read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig, the title alone intrigues me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows) gets a lot of nicknames. “That potato peel pie book” is one version. Also, the “sweet potato pie book.” Mostly, I get “you know . . . that Guernsey something something potato pie” book, with a big up-singing, question-mark sound.

Regardless of their ability to remember the full title, people always seem to love this book. It’s one of those books you can recommend to most of your bookish women friends and hit a home run.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society:

  1. If you like historic fiction that reads like literature. It’s well-written, well-crafted, and literary. This book reads like a true story.
  2. If you like history. This book is about fictional characters set against the backdrop of actual events that took place during World War II. It’s set on the island of Guernsey, a Channel island and the only British territory occupied by Germany during the war.
  3. If you enjoy a story with one main character who’s surrounded by a group of quirky secondary characters.
  4. If you love stories about courage, friendship, and loyalty. This book illustrates the power of people drawing together in times of hardship.
  5. If you like to read books about people who love books. In the book, the members of the “society” pull together during the war, finding solace in one another and in good books.

If you don’t usually enjoy books written in letter form (epistolary novels), don’t let that turn you off. Books written in letter form aren’t very popular with readers, historically. However, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society reads beautifully. And this is coming from someone who honestly isn’t normally a huge fan of epistolary novels.

Bonus: When you’re done reading the book, you can see it come to life in movie form! The movie version, starring Glen Powell, Lily James, and Matthew Good, premiered in the UK in early 2018 and is due out in the US in August.

And speaking of secret literary societies . . . do you want to join mine?

Join the Kindred Spirit Community:

Kindred Spirit Book Club Facebook group: If you love to chat about favorite books with other book-lovers, then please join us on Facebook for weekly discussions! We’re discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie as our July read-along.

Free Download: To download my English Garden Summer Book Walk and printable reading map and activity guide, click here.

If you missed the other articles in this summer series, you can catch up here.


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