REVIEW: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


After watching the film and then reading the book in a space of a week - in that order. I decided to write a review, talking about both the book and film adaptation. Although I'm currently at university studying Creative Writing and Journalism, I'm very bad at sitting down and actually read a book. On with the review... I think my heart just melted and made a puddle at my feet. Sigh!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set in post World War II era. Follows London based writer Juliet Ashton who wants to break free from the pen name Izzy Bickerstaff, seizes an opportunity to go Guernsey when she receives a letter from a resident Dawsey Adams and member of the island’s Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society who comes across a book that once belonged to her.

 The charming little book tells the tale of friendship, family and hardship during the German occupation of Guernsey. It’s a really emotional read with one letter making you laugh and the next making you cry! I can guarantee that you’ll fall in love with all the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and you’ll soon want to hop on a boat yourself over to the Channel Islands, hoping to find Dawsey and the others waiting.  It’s emotional, funny, charming, informative – an all round lovely book and the film does it even better.

Our Friday night book club became a refuge to us, a private freedom to feel the world growing darker all around you but need only a candle to see new worlds unfold.

REVIEW

The film and book differ in many ways as it would with any adaption and it's one everyone's talking about. I've watched the film twice in the space of a week and read the book, and in this case, the film really did the book justice. Having watched the film first and completely fell in love with it (i even cried a few times), if I didn't watch the film first I wouldn't have felt the need to read the book, does anyone else feel the same?
The mouthful title is a book club that inadvertently got started on a fateful night involving Nazi soldiers in the occupied island of Guernsey. As the correspondence goes on, Juliet takes it upon herself to travel there, meet the book club, and hopefully find some literary inspiration. Naturally, she finds a whole lot more.

Oh how do wish we still had typewriters and letters. The film is a celebration of literature, love, and the power of the human spirit. A charming film starring Lily James as Janet Ashton and Michiel Huisman as Dawsey Adams. Whilst the book tells the story through letters and beautifully, however, the film doesn't focus too much on the letters but mainly on the power of books. It's a very unique plot of a book with about 280 or so pages so it's a quick read and it's just told in letters, I felt like it was kind of lacking with more dialogue and I wanted more depth. I feel like we got to know Juliet a little bit, in this book we didn't really get to see the full dimension of her like we do in the film. in the book we got the letter correspondents and little in the movie but we also got to see Juliet as a person outside of the letters we got to see her fleshed out more in-depth and things like that so I really enjoyed that part of it.

I love the idea of a young woman setting off on an adventure, especially in a time when it wasn’t as free for women to do so. And I also love the fact that Juliet isn’t too eager to marry a seemingly too-good-to-be-true prince charming. Naturally, Juliet was treated like a celebrity once they meet the members of the Society, and that first meet-up where she was presented with the potato peel dish is a group meet-cute. I adore every single member of the Society, Amelia (Penelope Wilton), Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay), Dawsey, Isola (Katherine Parkinson) and Eben (Tom Courtenay) including Juliet's publisher and close friend Sydney Stark (Matthew Goode).
But despite their warm welcome, the group (especially Amelia) is vehemently opposed to the idea of Juliet writing an article about them for the Times. I loved that Juliet is a strong, independent and determined character and Dawsey giving off those Mr. Darcey vibes (I couldn't help but just love sweet, handsome Dawsey) and you'll see why.

The setback didn’t send Juliet immediately back to London. Instead, she’s set on doing research about the German occupation on the island. As the group opens up to her more, she soon finds out about what has happened to Elizabeth. The less said about Juliet’s discovery the better, but it’s safe to say she has fallen in love with the town and the people in it. The love story between Juliet and Dawsey was filled with a ton of chemistry. He’s ruggedly handsome. They had a close encounter previously when YOU COULD BASICALLY SEE THE SPARKS. To be honest it's impossible not to root for them from the first moment they lock eyes.

As Juliet’s stay lengthens into a week or so, she works to uncover the deeper stories and mysteries within the society. She forms connections with each of the club members. They begin to feel like family members to Juliet, rather than strangers, and Guernsey begins to feel like home.

This was a beautiful and charming film that relies heavily on story development and heartfelt performances by an excellent cast. I loved the literary connections and lively discussions among the society members in the book and of course the adaptation. And the island life depicted in the film was captivating. I would like to visit the island of Guernsey as a result of watching this movie in the hope of meeting my own Dawsey.
We got to know more about each character individually, I also really loved that we had more Dawsey. We have more Dawsey and Juliet development because in the book it happens very sudden like 5 to 100 in a couple of pages which I'm not too bothered about but I felt like it was just out of nowhere whereas, with the movie they got a lot more build-up, we had a lot more kind of tension scenes, we had a lot more getting to know one another scenes I enjoyed that they had a more emphasis on Dawsey and Juliet together whereas  in the book not so much - in this case of books to film adaptations, its definitely one of those books to you should read after watching the film because it makes you love it even more.


DO YOU SUPPOSE ITS POSSIBLE FOR US TO ALREADY BELONG TO SOMEONE BEFORE YOU HAVE MET THEM? IF SO, I BELONG TO  YOU OR YOU TO ME, OR ME SIMPLY TO THE SPIRIT I FOUND AMONG YOU IN GUERNSEY– JULIET ASHTON

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society will transport you back to the mid-twentieth century before mobile phones existed when people still wrote letters and used typewriters. For anyone too young to remember a time without mobile phones, you’ll wish you’d been able to experience it yourself. Other than its brilliant cast and cinematography, what I loved about it was the level of tact with which this story unfolded. Each character was fleshed out well. Each had a story that traced back to a chapter in history. There are no gruelling details and yet it leaves a deep impact of sorrow.

The film also reveals the hardships suffered on Guernsey Island during the German Occupation.  They were only liberated at the end of the war and the British inhabitants had to live on the very same (small) piece of land as their enemies. As the film progresses, this subplot unravels, revealing just how profoundly the lives of those on Guernsey were affected, which is incredibly moving. Juliet and Dawsey have to be my favourite part of the film and story that’s as quiet as the gentle romance between these two. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll adore the characters, beautifully portrayed, and the relationship that blossoms between these two souls.
 I'd be lying if it wasn't also down to how beautiful Dawsey is and raising a child. I can't help but want more of Juliet and Dawsey - if only a sequel existed.

There are a few reasons why I liked the film a little more. I felt it gave us a little more depth in the characters that we fall in love with and get to know a bit about in the book. Secondly, we saw the love story of Juliet and Dawsey developing more again in the film than the book.  Juliet, herself is so wonderfully funny and delightful and empathetic and just everything that you would ever want in a main character. Dawsey is just a charming pig farmer who loves Charles Lamb and reading. You just can't help but fall love with these characters and their stories. In this case, the film triumphs the book - it was a wonderful adaptation and has now become one of my favourite films

It is 2 hours long so sit back and relax with a bag of popcorn, and or a good cup of tea. If you are looking for a light-hearted comedy romance, this is the film for you. A whimsical, delightful period film with both a mystery and rom-com embedded within it. After watching this you will be crushing of Dawsey Adams! And prepare for this to become your favourite film., its the perfect cosy up with a blanket kind of film.

For those in the US, you can stream The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie on Netflix. You can also buy it on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK, it is also available on Amazon Prime.

Maybe Dawsey, the society's own 'Mr Darcey' can convince you.
 😉

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