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Saturday 28 April 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - The Book Review

It's a book.

 It's a film.

It's called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
But neither is truly about Guernsey, from my perspective as a girl born and bred on the island.
Yes, the story is set on my island but that's where the connection ends for me.  IMHO.
So today's post is my experience of reading the book, from the perspective of an islander.

I've avoided writing about TGLAPPS; being a Guernsey Girl it's felt a bit like the elephant in the room.  But I feel compelled to write about it now as the film has raised the book's profile this side of the pond. 
I feel I need to touch on a few points, and I hope you understand why.
This is my personal and very humble opinion of a book about my home turf, so please don't judge me.

Background to the book

From what I understand, the book was written by an American lady who picked up a few locally written books whilst fog-bound at our airport sometime in the 70s.
The novel came about some 30 years later, with assistance from her niece.

For those of you unfamiliar with book or film, my synopsis is below.  But please be warned, it's based on one reading of the book 9 years ago, and as I was fairly ambivalent about it then, I don't have the appetite to re-visit the book for verification.

The Synopsis

In 1946 a lady author, Juliet, begins corresponding with Dawsey, a Guernsey resident and book club member, and eventually travels to the island as she feels she's found the makings of a novel.  Once on the island she befriends members of the book club which was established as a curfew-buster during the occupation of the island (1940-1945), and she slowly unravels a story of a love affair between a local girl and a German soldier.  I think Juliet eventually ends up with Dawsey.

So that's the storyline, and it's fictional.

My Introduction to the Book

I heard of it when a fellow guest handed me a copy during a wedding weekend in Boston in 2009 when she discovered that I was from Guernsey and hadn't heard of the book.  She had two copies in her hotel room!  She then randomly brought other ladies over to meet me during the wedding breakfast.   It was kinda crazy!
I quickly learned that it was a book club's recommended reading and  as I subsequently travelled around America's east coast I discovered that many book club members had read it ... and the book club had many members!  No longer did I have to explain where Guernsey was, or that it wasn't part of Jersey.  I was treated like royalty that visit.  It opened doors for me, quite literally.  A Cape Cod bank was opened for me after closing time so that I could take out some cash (long story)!

Anyway, I took it home, read it and I struggled with it.
I think it's because it doesn't read like it's about the island or its people that I know and love.  We Guerns tend to struggle with it.
For anyone outside of Guernsey, it's probably an entertaining little book - it's sold over 5 million copies, that's a lot of love for a book.

Things about the book that made me scream!

The names. The author attempted to use a few local Guernsey surnames for the book's characters, but given how the book came about they were either mis-spelled or unrecognisable.

"We'd never say that!!" The book includes conversation in a style not used by the people of Guernsey or indeed those in the UK.  This has been addressed in the film.

A Guern called Dawsey ?!

 What's potato peel pie?  Clearly food was very short and all edible scraps were used, like potato peelings.  But as nobody over here has heard of an actual peel pie, I've had several attempts at making it since 2009 and it's still a work in progress!

So yes, I accept the book is fiction, but it lacks authenticity for the local reader.
And I expect that's always the struggle when reading a work of fiction about one's home turf that is written with an outsider's knowledge.
One of my fellow film-goers last weekend told me that she'd recently read a novel based on her home turf, Dartmoor, whose author is not from our shores.  As she read facts and descriptions, she too found herself inwardly screaming things like "Wrong!", "No, the church doesn't look like that!" and the old proverbial "We wouldn't say that!".  So it seems like this is par for the course.

Don't get me wrong, the film is poignant, the cast is strong, some inaccuracies have been addressed and it's well worth a visit.   The book, for a local reader, not so much.

I don't usually read books about the occupation, far too painful.  I read TGLAPPS out of respect because the book was gifted to me.
But on a brighter note, here are a few local fictional books that I have enjoyed and recommend.

This book reads so true and I loved it:

(Word on the rue is that this may be made into a film.)

And this is a sweet little novel
(Sarnia is the name the Romans gave to Guernsey and our "national anthem" is Sarnia Cherie. )


And especially for Susan H, and with apologies for the photo quality,


perhaps for your next QM2  trip, Susan ?!

A la perchoine

Coming up in this Series
The film
The recipe

Coming on your screens this coming week

The dress!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Hobbling into Spring in Cream and Black

Hi my loves.  How are you? I hope you are enjoying your day.
It probably comes as absolutely no surprise that our little heatwave has now moved on to beaches new.  We have now returned to spring's low-teens temps with mostly sunny days and the occasional grey day.  Yes, we Brits do obsess about the weather - you may have noticed?

I was out last night, meeting up with Sis and girlie cousins.  Yup, what to wear?

No hair-tugging deliberations - I wore this.
It's simples really.  
1. I happen to love cream and black.  
2. I have a new lacy camisole from Next which is totally rocking my world.  
3. I have Next bikers which needed an airing.
And 4. As The Photographer is now happy to offer the odd photo shoot and fashion views service, it was an opportunity to try out variations on a cream and black theme.

Zara "gold" asymmetric top, with Next bikers and Gabor Polyanna boots*.
A black, cream and white plaited belt from Peacocks.  I added it really to rile TP, for anything I wore after my sack-tied-in-the-middle look was just bound to get his approval!

Me: What do you think, TP?

TP: Fine, but without the belt [as it looks like a sack-tied-in-the-middle].  (I know him so well!).

Me: Is this better?

Me:  Without the belt?

TP: Yes, that's more like it.  Wear that. 

Me: Oh but I just must try this lacy/biker column with my fave slouchy Windsmoor cardi.

TP: Why?

Me: Come on, you've got to love this?!

TP: No.

Me: Well, how about a slouchy jumper?

Me: Is this any better?

TP: No.

Me: Why "no"?  
TP: There's something "not right" about it.  Try the first one again.

TP: Yes, that's the one.  Now let's get out of here.

Me: OK, but let's finish this off with the obligatory leoprint draping.
TP: We're now going to be late! [huff, puff, ggrrrrr!]

And there you have it, the screenwriter's version of how I choose  TP chooses my outfit.
I like TP to engage with my outfits.  But only occasionally.
I seem to remember from previous posts that a lot of you don't.  You prefer not to give your other half a say in the outfit process.  Am I right?  Or am I wrong?

*I've reverted to socks and boots for a few days.  I did the usual thing during our surprise heatwave last weekend and wore shoes and sandals with bare feet and walked those little feet off in the baking sun.  Yup, I'm now dealing with countless foot problems - why oh why do I NEVER learn?

Do you have a tried-and-tested programme to introduce your feet to the change of temperature and footwear?  Or are you like me?  Do you throw yourself excitedly into summer's sandals without a thought of the suffering  that you know invariably follows?

A la perchoine.

Coming up

I review THIS book and film:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.jpgThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Poster

I try out this dress:

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Snooze and You Looze

Sometimes online shopping works.  Sometimes it doesn't.
When I was at a down-point during our recent troubles I went a-shoppin' online at Next.  I needed distraction, grounding, normality - and this did it for me, briefly.  It was a form of therapy during a difficult time.  I guess I entered the world of retail therapy.  I'd never done that before.

And then the bags started a-tricklin' into Chez Pout.

Society 8 Asymmetric Jumper

I'd set my heart on this grey jumper.  Perfect with my coated jeans in winter and white jeans in summer, thought I.  Nah.  Not to be.  SOLD OUT.  Don't you just hate seeing those words?
You really have to be quick off the mark with Next, snooze and you lose and I have to admit that my dithering over the "go to checkout" button meant I was one very sorry loser.

Never mind, plenty more big grey jumpers in the sea, thought I.  Well, not so, it turns out, for I found just two.  Perhaps we have entered a season of colour and grey is now so last winter.

Vero Moda Knit Jumper

The nearest I could find was this baggy affair but unfortunately we are talking  not baggy but huge tent.  I'd thought it may not be as voluminous as the pic IRL . But the model must be the height of a Watussi because IRL it certainly is a marquee.  It's going back.

Grey V-Neck Sweater (198548) | £15

My back-up plan was this v-neck.  Again it veers towards tent, though not quite marquee, more your little Glastonbury festival goer's tent.  But still a tent.  And the knit was very thin, maybe OK in August, but would I want to be wearing a jumper in August?  Well, the answer to that is "No", just in case there was any doubt.  So it's going back too.

All is not lost, however.  For after this sadly disappointing try-on, I've learned a vital lesson.  Don't be a ditherer - add to basket, go to checkout and then relax, my therapist's work is done.

A la perchoine.

Sunday 22 April 2018

My Beach Holiday

I've been on holiday.
Well, not really, but it feels like I have.
We've been having glorious weather, mid 20s C and just simply sunny each day.
Which is good because we have family visiting for the weekend.  Our visitors are staying at the hotel down the road from us, to allow The Photographer plenty resting periods throughout their stay and it's worked out brilliantly, as we decided we would act as if we were on holiday too.

The Cobo Bay Hotel looked after our visitor’s so well that I fear Chez Pout may have lost them to those stunning views forever more 😞. 
Find Cobo Bay Hotel HERE 

On their beach-side balcony.  Isn't TP looking well!

We've gone from snow in March and cold temps throughout most of April, to a week of summer weather and temps in the 20s.  Straight from winter to summer.  No spring in between, or though it seems.

It's happened with such lightening speed that I was taken unawares and when it got to going out for a meal on Friday, I looked at my wardrobe and thought "What the heck did I wear last summer?"!!

So I went for a tried and tested "nautical" look.  Striped linen blend top from Magasin in Copenhagen (bought 3 years ago), white jeans from M&S (bought in the January sale £8, bargain!).

I topped it off with an East jacket as I knew it would be getting chilly when we ate al fresco on the terrace later, with the sun started to go down over the yardarm.  My Windsmoor cardi also tagged along, and was a handy drape for one of our visitors later in the evening

OK I'd better sneak in a sea-selfie, gotta be done.

The terrace restaurant served up some delicious meals, not all mine I hastened to add. 

Lemon sole.

Crab thermidor.

And for me, the humble crab sandwich.  My first of the season, methinks

My patient began to flag so we didn't stay to watch the sun sink over the horizon, but our visitors viewed it from their balcony after we left.

A beautiful ending to lovely day.

And the eating fest continued into Saturday.  A birthday lunch for one of TP's daughters at La Reunion.

Yes, another day, another beach restaurant.

I did my two starter trick.  I chose a gorgeous three cheese soufflé to start the meal.  If you're in Guernsey and fancy eating the alltime best cheese soufflé then book a table at La Reunion now!!!

A prawn starter for mains.

Some of the other diners' dishes.

Yummy petits fours ... and they're complementary, so double yummy!

And this strawberry cheesecake was declared The Best Cheesecake EVER by all who tasted it!

I leave you with some of the photographic memories of Friday and Saturday, courtesy of TP's other daughter.

Somebody braved the cold spring water!

And so on to Sunday.  We're going to see a film today.  Now I wonder which film that could be ...

A la perchoine.