... I feel like I should thank more people, so here I go! To the author’s of the books: Thank you for having good ideas and better writing. To my husband: Thanks for being so supportive as I read these (and many other) novels. And finally to myself: Thanks for getting organized and putting these books on hold, reading them, and processing them in a wonderful fashion.
After I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society only one word came to mind: Delightful. The correspondence between Juliet and the society after World War II is heart warming and heart breaking. In their letters you receive firsthand accounts of what it was like to occupied by Germany and what it took to survive. You might have to say goodbye to your children in order to keep them safe, you might go home only to find a crater where your front door should be, or you might lie to the German police about being in a book club. Yet the love of life, and especially books, can connect people across war and water.
This novel also had me laughing out loud (I actually like spelling things out). The characters and events that they bring up in their letters made them feel like friends I would like to know and have. I usually read about the author when I’m done with a book and I understand why the book is filled with such love. Mary Ann Shaffer started writing this novel but when unexpected health issues arose her niece Annie, who is also a writer, stepped up the plate to help. She writes at the end of her acknowledgements, “I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art –be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music- enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised.”
While The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had me laughing, Before I Go to Sleep kept me on the edge of my seat and I actually let out a huge, “NO!” at the end of the book. The main character Christine loses her memory every time she goes to sleep. She wakes up usually thinking she is twenty years younger than she really is only to see hands and realize that she is almost fifty. Life has gone on and every important thing in her life can only be traced in pictures and by people mentioning them to her. Once in a while her memory returns and this is what keeps you hanging on in the book.
Written in first person you have a unique view into her mind. Yes, things are repeated but as she meets with a doctor and starts writing out her days you being to understand with her what has happened to the lost years of her life. Can she ever love the man who says he is her husband? Will she ever remember how she lost her memory? Will her memory return?
My suggestion to all of you out there: Read these books. The End. Oh, and if you have any book suggestions please let me know...
The Wakeful Dreamer