Film Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Thursday, May 16, 2019 , ,

I recently had the honor of writing a review of the film adaptation of a frequently mentioned favorite book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, for the online magazine Salt & Iron. I hope you enjoy! 

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (2018) (Photo Credit: Vintagemadchen)

“If books do have the power to bring people together, maybe this one will work its magic.” 

This sentiment is at the core of the recent film adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s charming novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. In this story, books establish romances, unlikely friendships, and new life directions.

The film’s heroine, London-based author Juliet Ashton, finds comfort in books and her writing career in the wake of World War II. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, a group of friends on the island of Guernsey takes comfort from their weekly book club, which had become their saving grace when Nazis took over their island during the war. The club members have dubbed themselves “the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” in reference to their love of literature and to a pie made from potatoes and potato peels, which they ate at their first meeting. Food scarcity during the war made real desserts scarce, but they found humor in it when they faced it together at their meetings.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society opens in the aftermath of the war and focuses on Juliet Ashton’s unlikely friendship with these book club members on Guernsey. Those relationships, which grow from perseverance during hardship and a common love for books, are the lifeblood of this screen adaptation and do excellent justice to the original novel.

As a devoted fan of the book, I approached the movie with cautious optimism and was pleased overall with the result. Though the film structures the story differently than it is presented in the book, the movie retained the joyful spirit of its source material and stayed true to the book’s themes of friendship, love for reading, and the power of books to enrich the lives of individuals and communities.

Continue reading here.

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