Monday, September 3, 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix)

I loved this movie.  I have not read the book, but enjoyed the story and characters so much I'm going to get the book.  This was hugely popular with Reading Groups when it came out, and I can see why.

It's a mystery, a historical tale, a romance, and is filled with a love of books and reading that may not have been captured anywhere as well in ages.

It's the story of a young woman writer named Juliet Ashton in 1946.  As London is being rebuilt after the Second World War she is assigned an article by her publisher to write about Reading.

She's not too keen on it until she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams.  He's a pig farmer from the island of Guernsey who has her personal copy of Lamb's Essays of Elia which had her name and address inside it.  He attends a book group called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which was begun during the Nazi Occupation of Guernsey during the war, and which has continued.  He'd like recommendations for more books by author Charles Lamb, and London bookstores which might carry them.

She loves the story of this book group helping it's members through such terrible times and feels it will be just what she needs for her article on Reading.

Feeling like she knows the Society and it's members from Dawes letter, she hastily packs and sets out for Guernsey, letting Dawes know she's on the way and that she'd like to do an article on his group.

Her reception is so funny.  There's nowhere in town to stay so she ends up in the home of a grim matron.

The Society members are shocked by her presence, and the meeting starts out very awkwardly.  The group meets at Amelia Maugery's house, and Amelia is particularly frosty in her reception.  She immediately tells Juliet she must lead the discussion.  Then coldy advises that the leader stands for her presentation.  By the end of the evening everyone is comfortably seated and is having a lively discussion of the evenings book.

Lily James is luminous as Juliet.   Juliet is a very modern girl, who knows what she wants, and is completely lively and in the moment.   She handles the reception by the members with aplomb.  When she finds there is much more to the story of the Society and it's wartime origins, she stays on the island, researching, and becoming friends with most of the members.  To her surprise, she eventually feels very much like they are family as well as friends.

Penelope Wilton, an alumni from Downton Abbey as is James, is so wonderful here.  She's this seemingly hard, tough woman who has borne too much, seen too much.

Michiel Huisman plays a remarkably sensitive man for his profession, so well read and a fine letter writer to boot.

I love the book discussions.

Love the interwoven mystery of Elizabeth.

Love that the children are included in the readings and discussions.

Most films don't capture the love of reading as this one does.

Loved at the end while the credits ran that you could hear a rather heated discussion of another book.

Read on, Peelers.