Dear Sidney, Kit would love a bagpipe. I would not. {Book Club}

When I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows I wondered how I had missed it until the very end. In many ways the Literary Society  function like a healthy ministry team. 

Watching the adults come around and work together in caring for, raising, and loving Kit until Elizabeth returned brought to mind the best of what a team can do. The support, team work, common experiences, shared secrets (the good kind), and sense of enjoyment for one another is the ideal. Now, I know they had their quirks and I know it wasn’t without bumps and problems. But what do you think of this idea that to a certain extent, they functioned like a ministry team?

I love watching Juliet as her identity shifts as she grows fonder and fonder of Kit and is learning how to care for a child. “Dear Sidney, Kit would love a bagpipe. I would not.” Ha! As I’ve read this section of the book, I couldn’t help but compare to the daughters in The Poisonwood Bible. The four girls seemed to have no one advocating for them. As much as Orleanna tried to protect them, in the end, even she abandoned each.

Yet here, we have a child who is known, loved, and protected. When Juliet was willing to live wherever was best for Kit, I wanted to cheer. “Her home is here, and mine can be. Writers can write on Guernsey–look at Victor Hugo. The only thing I’d truly miss about London are Sidney and Susan, the nearness to Scotland, new plays, and Harrods Food Hall.”

I think this can be one of the most heart wrenching parts of living overseas for parents and children of aging parents. For parents who have young kids and for whatever reason where they are living may not be the best fit for the child, they have many hard choices; knowing that each scenario, family, and situation are different. When do you “go home” and when do you trust God to provide what your child needs?

On the other end of the life spectrum, when is it the time to go home and help with aging parents or other relatives? Again, this doesn’t come with a simple, one-size-fits-all, answer. It is beautiful and sad when a decision is made in light of what is best for someone else. The laying down and walking away, is not for the faint of heart, is it?!

Also in this section was the process Elizabeth was going through to pull together an unifying idea for her next book. Isn’t it the best feeling ever when a piece falls into place with a big project? And of course it was Elizabeth. If Anatole was the Christ figure in The Poisonwood Bible, Elizabeth is it for this book.

Near the end, I loved Isola’s detective notes and how she got things wrong with Dawsey and Remy. This line about Dawsey was endearing: “It suddenly struck me that Dawsey is a lonesome person. I think it may be that he has always been lonely, but he didn’t mind before, and now he minds.” I wonder how many lonely people are around us? What would it take for us to be detectives like Isola and notice?

Once again, meaty themes for us to talk about. Ministry teams, changing / evolving identities, getting unstuck from a project, and loneliness. Where would you like to start? Can’t wait to chat in the comments!


P.S. Thanks to Bayta who shared this article with me related to The Poisonwood Bible: Belfast family return to Congo to honour friends murdered in 1964 Simba rebellion

Reading plan: We’ll be jumping right in to  Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle. Small warning on a tiny bit of language. Which is to be expected working with gang members. This is in my top 5 books of all times and makes me want to be a better person.

September 1: Preface – Chapter 2

September 8: Chapter 3 and 4

September 15: Chapters 5-7

September 22: Chapters 8-9

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 


  1. T August 26, 2015

    I like what you wrote, Amy….and, to fit in with the theme of the week–Ask–Juliet, the professional authoress isn’t too proud to ask Sidney for help finding the core of her next book!  That is a pretty great example for us!  🙂  Don’t you guys really want to go to the Channel Isles now?  I do, even though I hate wind and cold, and tropical isles would more likely be my style!

    1. Amy Young August 28, 2015

      YES!!! I want to go there right now!!! 🙂

  2. Anna August 29, 2015

    I didn’t think about the Guernsey Island folks being like a ministry team, but that is a good comparison.  I liked how they were stronger together than they could have been individually.  As far as the question about knowing when it’s time to go home, that is really difficult.  When do you make that call?   I think there are some things that are more clear cut than others, but I think for me it depends on the physical and emotional well-being of the kids.  We were in a situation where some people who weren’t happy with us chose to take some things out on our kids.  It ended up being a situation that we had to leave for the sake of our whole family, but the decision wasn’t based only on that.  (Our family’s well being was what gave us the courage to finally act.)  But that was an easier choice than what the parents of that island had to face- keeping the kids with them or sending them to the mainland.  I can’t even imagine facing that.

    I love how so many of the adults gathered around Kit to protect and nurture her.  I think every kid should have that, and every adult’s default should be to protect kids not harm them.  We know that’s not how the world works, but we can see many good examples in this story.

    It was fun seeing Juliet come up with her unifying theme for her book.  She just needed that one thing to tie it all together, and it was right in front of her.  Don’t you love it when things click like that? 🙂

  3. Phyllis August 30, 2015

    The afterword made me think of this Velvet Ashes reading group:

    “The only flaw in the feast is that it ends. If I could have anything I wanted, I would choose story without end, and it seems that I have lots of company in that. I have received many, many letters from readers all over the world bemoaning the fact that the book comes to an end. ‘I want it to go on forever,’ they say. ‘I want to go to Guernsey and join a book club.’… The good news is that as long as we don’t get too caught up in the space-time continuum, the book does still go on, every time a reader talks about it with another reader. The membership of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society increases each time the book is read and enjoyed. The wonderful thing about books–and the thing that made them such a refuge for the islanders during the occupation–is that they take us out of our time and place and understanding, and transport us not just into the world of the story, but into the world of our fellow readers, who have stories of their own.”


    Thank you for bringing this book to me and for all of the story sharing that goes on here!

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