31st January, 2010
My Dearest Book Club Members,
What a sheer delight this novel was! In every nook & cranny I found wit, charm, humor, depth & characters with whom I fell in love. I am infatuated with how it was written entirely through correspondence (though I was often befuddled at how quickly the mail got from one place to another). I should like to give you my thoughts on a few of the characters as I have imprinted on them & they are now a part of me. Who wants to meet me in Guernsey?
Juliet. What can be said of our incorrigible main character? She’s so likable and charming I desire to be her BFF. So, I suppose that means I want to be Sophie (except not live in Scotland…Gty cannot pull off the kilt look). Aside from misreading Dawsey’s cues she was smart & always on top of things (quite a departure from previous heroines we have read). I adored how she called off her engagement because he had packed up her books to make room for his sporting trophies. And then how she dumped that oily bohunk with handmade shoes. ::patooie:: Who needs him?
Sidney. Dear sweet Sidney. I will admit to wanting Juliet to end up with Sidney for over half of the book. I suppose that is what the authoresses intended. And, in hindsight, all the signs were there for him being homosexual…he was described as tan & fit, after all. I guess I just didn’t realize there were stereotypical gays back in the ‘40s? The point is the news blew me away, threw me for a loop, and knocked me upside the head. It couldn’t be and yet it was. Now I just want to be his BFF. So now I want to be Juliet.
Dawsey. The strong, silent type. The introspective thinker. Not my kind of guy but he’s perfect for Juliet. I will say that of all the characters I was supposed to fall head-over-heels for, Dawsey did it for me the least. I loved that he was kind & had a calming effect on everyone but I wish they would have forced me to love him more. I still adore him but, you know, at arm’s length.
As for the rest of the islanders, I enjoyed being around them immensely. Each one added to the story in a real way and no one was just for showing off (ahem, SMeyer). And the story being told! Heart-breaking. Every time I read a book set during this era I can NOT believe this ever actually happened. It seems unfathomable to me. The abuse, the starvation, the slavery, the camps… so amazingly unthinkable. How did these people ever recover?
But I digress.
There were a couple of lines which I found insightful & delightful. The first is on page 40 when Juliet is describing Mark Reynolds to Sophie. She says “He’s got that way of believing his opinion is the truth, but he’s not disagreeable about it. He’s too sure he’s right to bother being disagreeable.” That told me everything I needed to know about Reynolds. I know people like that. And they are annoying.
The other line I loved was in one of Isola’s letters to Juliet (page 53) where she is talking about her first experience reading Wuthering Heights and how it changed her tastes in books. She said “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” That is exactly how I’m feeling about this month’s selection. It has upped my expectations in books. Not as much as Hunger Games. But enough to be noticeable.
I will tell you, SRBC, the other reason I loved this book. It reminded me of getting to know all of you. If you recall, we all got to know each other strictly through the written word. We wrote back & forth in emails, comments, blog posts & the like. And, just like in this book, we couldn’t wait to meet each other in real life. And when we did finally meet, we felt as though we already knew each other! It was magical. This book reminded me of that magic some year and four months ago when we began our own “Blogspot Literary and Diet Beverages Society.”
PS Why was potato peel pie mentioned in the already long & difficult title? It was hardly mentioned in the book and definitely not pertinent to the story. It’s hard telling people what you’re reading and having to spit that mouthful out. I have yet to do it without stuttering/starting over.