Please Don’t Forget the Pie!

Growing up, it was always my dad with a book in his hands, not Mom. I tried to interest my mom in the books I was reading, such as the Chronicles of Narnia. No, she would say, I don’t like books like that. I never saw her sit down with a book except to read us stories. I thought she just didn’t care for reading.

Time passed. All of Mom’s children went away to college. All of a sudden (it seemed to me) Mom developed an interest in reading. We would talk about the books we read, and started telling each other when our favorite authors had published another novel. We were both huge fans of the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George; I remember calling her when In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner was about to be released so we could eagerly anticipate reading it together. After I had my daughters, I would call her to see if she knew about the latest Sue Grafton or Nevada Barr novel. I had the new book on hold at the library — she had already bought the book and read it.

Sometimes our tastes varied from each other’s; she loved Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, while I abandoned that series after Four to Score. I adore the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, and Mom didn’t care for it.

I once said to Mom that when I was a kid, I didn’t think she liked to read. “I had four children!” she said. “I didn’t have TIME to read!”

Last November, I was at my parent’s house, looking at a notebook Mom had made some notes in. I saw the name of a TV show and a book I had recommended to her. The TV show was The Good Wife, and the book was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

The author, Mary Ann Shaffer, fell ill with cancer while writing this book. Her niece, Annie Barrows, helped her finish it. Mary Ann didn’t live to see her book published. When I recommended this book to Mom, I didn’t know she wouldn’t live to read this marvelous story. Set on the island of Guernsey during the German occupation of WWII, a literary society begins with an odd cast of characters. They correspond with a writer, Juliet, who is looking for her next book subject. She soon grows to love the members of the society through those letters. Eventually, she comes to Guernsey to meet her pen pals. Mom would have loved this book.

I think some of you may have: a. heard of this book, or b. read this book already. It is very popular, and I would definitely urge you to read it if you haven’t already!

(One of my pet peeves when reading other reviews of this book is that a couple of bloggers have forgotten the word PIE when typing the title. During WWII, provisions on the island were scarce. The Guernsey Literary Society wanted to have refreshments at their meetings, which was difficult with no flour available. One of the recipes concocted to create a dessert with available ingredients was a PIE baked with a potato peel crust. Hence, the title The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.)

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Happy reading!

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12 Replies to “Please Don’t Forget the Pie!”

  1. Wow, I can't wait to read this book, I just picked it up last weekend. Now for time when I'm not chasing for the kids.

  2. What a beautiful story—the book AND you and your mom!I'm going to look it up and save it at the library!

  3. I had not heard of this book, thanks Ginny. It was also fun to learn about you and your mom's own little book club! 🙂

  4. My mother was the same way with books. Suddenly started reading all the time when I went off to college. I thought it was a sudden interest, but of course it was just finally having free time!This book sounds wonderful.

  5. Pie!It sounds like a book I might like. I will try and find it next time I'm in London. Pie!(just so you know I haven't forgotten)

  6. I absolutely loved this book! I have to confess that when I originally blogged about it, I left out the Pie, but I fixed it! I promise! :)I thought the book was well written and would recommend it to anyone! I'm so sorry your mom never got to read it, but how wonderful that you found that connection with her!

  7. We read that for book club and I LOVED it. Clever, funny, and so well-written. (My mom loved it too!)

  8. I picked this one up a while back, but it's still languishing on the shelf waiting for me to have time to read it… thanks for the encouragement!

  9. Wow so many memories from the heart in this post. It's funny how we understand our parents as we get older. I think this will also be an interesting dynamic as we record our youth. When I get a chance to read this is one I'd like to get to. I'm glad you included that bit about the author.

  10. That book is on my reading list for 2010 (it is an extensive list). I just finished The Little Book by Selden Edwards. I love when you post things about your mom. You are so good at giving her tribute in the little things (and arguably, the little things are msot important). My next read is The Great Gatsby. I read it every year at the same time as my BFF who lives in St. Louis (sooooo far from TX!). Then we talk on the phone at length about how it is wasted on teenagers.

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