Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Guernsey Literary: Final Thoughts

For starters, I definitely enjoyed the second part much more than the first after the plot started thickening and I couldn't wait to read what would happen next. You know how sometimes you get so into a story, you start skimming and skipping ahead, scanning the page for what's in store for the characters only to then force yourself back to the beginning of the page? I had the bad habit of doing that here - especially if there were any font changes on the page.

Which leads me to ask: how do you suppose they italicized by hand??

- How sad and courageous was Elizabeth's story? I said I wanted to "meet" her and in a way we did in the same way Juliet did - through the stories of the people she touched. She stood up for what she believed was right through to the end and even though she paid dearly for it, her acts continued to ripple on long after she was gone.

"Remy watched the sea breathe in and out. Then she said, 'It would have been better for her not to have such a heart.'

Yes, but worse for the rest of us."

- Oh, the whole episode with Isola, the Oscar Wilde letters and Billee Bee was great! Isola and her crazy antics definitely kept me entertained. If Sidney weren't "a homosexual," I would've wanted those two to hook up. Actually, I think I still do.

- My favorite moment in the whole book made my eyes tear up. It was when Kit woke Juliet up to finally show her the treasures she carried in her little box. How Juliet carefully took out the contents underneath the tissue paper - a baby pillow, a picture of her mother Elizabeth, a handkerchief, the poetry book her father gave her mom, her grandfather's "magical" WWI medal and a sweet note left behind by a loving mother.

"She was showing me her treasures, Sophie - her eyes did not leave my face once. We were both so solemn, and I, for once, didn't start crying; I just held out my arms. She climbed right into them, and under the covers with me - and went sound asleep. Not me! I couldn't. I was too happy planning the rest of our lives."

And how happy I was when she was able to adopt this little girl - and then marry Dawsey, the stranger who had serendipitously found her book and led her to where she was meant to be.

I thought The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was such a sweet and touching story. I only hope you felt the same - but if you didn't that's ok, too!

Image: blueislands.com


  1. I suspect the italics is a more eye-pleasing typesetting form of 'underlining' for emphasis, although they may have indeed used italics - back in the day penmanship was an art form and much respected.

    I found Elizabeth's story to be full of courage, bravery and self-sacrifice. Her impact on the small communities she lived in (both Guernsey and the prison camps) was enormous - so when you think you can't make a difference - think again.

    I find, time and time again, mankind's treatment of its fellow man, at it worse to be so barbaric and cruel it makes me want to 'leave' the species. Sad to say, things are no more civilized now then they were 60 years ago - we STILL have genocide and ethnic cleansing going on, in Africa and in what was Yugoslavia (and probably in other places too).

    I found some small solance in Remy's 'more or less' recovery from her horrific ordeal - the power of a natural, peaceful setting like the island, with people that cared for her no doubt was a huge help - I wonder how much of her recovery was 'healing' and how much of it was 'blocking out' - if the books author hadn't died, her continuing story would have been a good sequel.

    I found the story of the cat that didn't die perpetrated by Oscar Wilde to be charming, amusing, and a nice touch and a wonderful thing for him to do. He was badly treated for his being gay - and this portrait of him show the injustice of that.

    I found Kit's innocent, slow-to-trust, gradual acceptance of Juliet to be touching. The child seems to know that inside a woman greatly inhibited outside of her letters (i.e., Juliet) was someone very much worth loving.

    One of my favorite quotes from the book is on page 142, "I don't care much for people - never have, never will. I got my reasons. ... Treat a dog right and he'll treat you right - He'll keep you company,
    be your firend, never ask you no questions..."

    For me, the most haunting quote was Remy's. "'If there is predestination, the God is the devil.' No one could argue with that - what kind of God would intentionally design Ravenbruck."

    In the end, I was happy to see two people unable to express themselves well with spoken word finally own up to their feelings for each other and get married in a whirlwind.

    Communicate how you feel - its the only way. :)

  2. I haven't read this book - I have little time for leisurely reading at this point, with such little guys! But the book definitely caught my eye at the store. I'm one of those lifetime readers - who, although I don't have time to read, will still gently stroke the front of a book I want to read - and get almost misty eyed at the thought of being able to read it, perhaps, someday. With these little tidbits you've shared - I will definitely be reading this book someday - hopefully soon!!

  3. intense guy, yes, I was thinking perhaps calligraphy.

    I thought Elizabeth was inspiring. I only hope to touch as many people and as profoundly as she did.

    As far as Remy goes, I have to admit I didn't pay as much attention to her as I should have perhaps. I appreciated that through her we were able to learn what happened to Elizabeth in the concentration camp and that she was able to go to Guernsey and experience that life if only for a little while. I think because she was so quiet and timid, she faded into the background for me.

    liesl, do let us know if you do. I should've made it clearer, but the link box is to link up any posts about the book :)

  4. It sounds like a really great book. I hope I can get to read it soon. I should be able to get hold of a copy in a couple of weeks (providing the library does keep it aside for me).

  5. Okay, LOVED IT. You made a GREAT choice in books. I will come back with more thoughts....just wanted to leave you with this one. :)

  6. I finally got around to posting my review
    I try not to give too much away in my reviews, which I realize makes them kind of lousy book club discussions. I agree with you bot about Elizabeth, she was so inspiring and her demise was heart breaking.
    I too enjoyed the Oscar Wilde story, he's one of my favorites!

  7. Hey, the lovely thing is we can each go about it our own way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)


Say word.