The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Did you enjoy the reading experience this week? I think this book is so compelling. I felt like I had a really hard time stopping reading! I wanted to read the whole book in one go. Did you all enjoy the fact that the book is told in letters? I thought that made the reading go a lot faster than a normal book. 

At the beginning of the book, we meet Juliet Ashton, a journalist who wrote fluff pieces under the pseudonym, Izzy Bickerstaff. She wants to change her career and write more serious things, but she's stuck promoting her Izzy Bickerstaff novel. It appeared that the Izzy Bickerstaff character was very important to a lot of people, and the humor in the columns really helped people during the war. If you're curious about how the British used humor to fight the Nazis, check out this article about satirical radio broadcasts. 

Soon after, we're introduced to Dawsey, a man who lived in Guernsey during the Nazi occupation. He writes to Juliet after finding her address in a used book, and he hopes that she will be able to provide him with more books by the author. Juliet is immediately captivated by Dawsey's story. Can you blame her? I was so curious about Dawsey and his experiences during the war. What did you think of the roast pig story? Would you have been brave enough to defy the curfew order and attend the party? 

Do you think you had a favorite character in the first section? I liked all of Juliet's letters, but I thought Dawsey was more compelling. He just has such an interesting story, and I just wanted to find out all of the details about the book club. I think I was really drawn to Dawsey's strength and kindness. He had a really horrible war experience, but he still seemed so kind and gentle. I just really can't believe that Dawsey and the rest of the group on Guernsey didn't have any contact with the outside world for five years. I just can't imagine how bleak everything was with no news of anything positive for five years. I don't think I would have been able to keep up a positive attitude under those conditions. I also really liked Mrs. Maugery. I liked how she was so no-nonsense and careful about letting Juliet hear details about the group. 

What did you think of the different letters of reference that Juliet sent to the group? I loved how wildly different Lady Bella Taunton and Reverand Simon Simpless viewed Juliet. I think I enjoyed Lady Bella Taunton's letter more--I liked how enraged she was about everything that Juliet did. Even though both people had different opinions of Juliet, they both agreed that she was honest and someone worth talking to. 

As this section progresses, readers are introduced to the rest of the members of the book club. I think Isola seems like a hoot, but everyone, really, seems like a character. Through these letters, readers realize that the group is caring for a child, and this little girl is the daughter of Elizabeth and a German soldier. Neither Elizabeth nor the soldier is on the island, but we don't really know what happened to either. We know that Elizabeth has been arrested. Do you think there's any hope that she will make it back home? What other details from the letters of the group stood out to you? I think John Booker was really interesting because he is Jewish, but he was able to hide and pretend to be his former employer. 

Do you have any guesses about the rest of the book? Do you think you know how the story will continue? 

If you're interested in learning more about the potato peel pie that the group eats in the book, check out the video below. Does it look like a recipe that you would enjoy? 

Thanks for following along with us this week! I hope you'll leave your thoughts about the section in the comments! And, make sure to join us next week as we read through Sister Cecile Touvier's letter on page 183.