Well now. I did not see that coming. This post will have a bit of a spoiler alert later. So, as we discuss our second chunk of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and you don’t want to know the spoiler alert that will be near the bottom of this post, quit reading :).
This section warmed by heart. It’s a joy to watch the relationships blossom as the islanders keep asking Juliet to visit them and she sends such thoughtful small gifts.
While at different times in my life I may have “gone without” something, I’ll admit I’ve never had to go without soap for months and months. It’s one thing not to be able to wash your clothes, it’s quite another to not be able to wash your body to the point that it creates physical problems. I felt for that girl who needed her head shaved and the scabs lanced. Oh for more Elizabeths in the world who are able to infuse joy into darkness.
In Dawsey’s 2nd April letter, he struck on two universal truths:
1. “I don’t think some Islanders ever credited the boredom of those years as a reason to befriend the enemy. Boredom is a powerful reason, and the prospect of fun is a powerful draw — especially when you are young.”
Boredom is powerful. Have you heard of HALT-B? Where have you experienced boredom in your life recently?
2. “The way that Christian and I met may a bit unusual, but I friendship was not. I’m sure many islanders grew to be friends with some of the soldiers. But sometimes I think of Charles Lamb and marvel that a man born in 1775 enabled me to make to such friends as you and Christian.”
Reading fosters friendships.
“Thompson was barred from their doors forever, and move to Guernsey to grow vegetables. Sometimes he rides with me in my cart and we talk about Man and God and all the In-between. I would have missed all this if I had not belonged to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”
I would have missed all this.
I enjoyed hearing the type of books they were each drawn too. Funny how Mrs. Clara Saussey liked to read recipes and got yelled at because of how hungry they all were. I don’t know about you, but it seems when a bunch of foreigners get together for a meal, the conversation often drifts too food. Have you noticed that too?
When Juliet referenced The Secret Garden I cheered! So far, she’s mentioned a book we’ve read (or technically an author) in each section. Do you think we’ll be three for three?
“It was England they were after, and we were of no use to them. We thought we’d be n the audience like, not up on the stage itself.” Eben wrote to Juliet when she asked about the children going to England for the duration of the war. “Families had one day to decide, and five years to abide with it.” That line struck me because more often than we’d like, our line of work can come with those “one day to decide” moments and it’s gut wrenching. What “one day decisions” have you or others you know needed to make?
I loved how Juliet turned “distraction” into an “honorable word instead of a character flaw.” The scent of hope and the power of redemption.
As I read Juliet’s long letter to Sidney after she finally arrived on Guernsey I couldn’t help thinking of us. Remember the dreams and ideas you had about the country you’d live in? And then you finally got there. For me it was late at night in a hot humid Beijing airport. If it’s night time or humid when I land, even all these years later, it comes back. And getting to meet people you’ve been corresponding with, we know that too!
The game of “Dead Bride” cracked me up.
Like most of the Islanders, I really thought Elizabeth was going to come back. Her death crushed me.
In closing, what do you think of Mark? I don’t trust him. What happened to you when you read about Elizabeth. I was reading outside and I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. I sat there staring into space. Those concentration camps were awful. I hope to be like Elizabeth, willing to do the right thing even to the very end.
On that somber note, isn’t this book like life? The ups and downs? The joy and tragedy woven together. What stood out to you as you read? Can’t wait to chat . . .
August 25: Roughly the final third — how are we nearly done?!!
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