The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – Some Book Group Questions

Image result for guernsey literary and potato peel pie society book

This is the first in an occasional series of sets of questions for book groups which I have used with some success on a particular book; they can be discussion points, or just for looking at as individuals. I hope that they will be of interest!

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society must be one of the longest titles for a novel; do you think that it works? Why?

The format of this novel is a bit unusual – while some of the earliest novels were in letter form (Clarissa, Pamela) – it is not that common today. Do you think it works? Why? Did you need a crib sheet of characters? Any other comments?

One comment is that all the characters in this book are “loveable”. Is this true? Are there any that show themselves as less than pleasant (not counting the anonymous German soldiers)? Can you get an idea of what they are like from letters, either their own and other people’s? What about Elizabeth, who has not actually written? Is it significant that most of the important characters are female?

The setting, Guernsey, is well described as a place and closed community. How do you feel about it having read the book? How is it contrasted with post war London? There is also the question of the American involvement in the character of Mark. What about the German characters?

This book is set in 1946. How significant is that timing?

Mary Ann Shaffer was unable to publish this book alone, owing to her health. Is that important?

This is a book about a book group and the power of reading when times are hard. You could try listing all the books and authors mentioned, which could be enough to keep everyone occupied for a while! How important are reading and books to your life?

Finally, this book has been made into a film. How many people have seen it? Is it like the book? What did you think?


I hope that this has given a few thoughts on a book that has been popular with both book groups that I have been in when looking at this very readable novel. My thanks go to members of the Bookworms group in Derby, who are an immensely cosy lot… Would this sort of post be of interest again? How many of you are members of a Book Group? If you cannot get to a Book Group, would this sort of post be of interest to you?


Over the next few days I am due to review some varied books. I do hope that there is at least one that will interest you; they are very different from each other!

One thought on “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – Some Book Group Questions

  1. I love this book, particularly the audio version which is read by multiple readers, and love the epistolary format. I don’t have need of book group questions but I enjoyed revisiting this marvelous book with you.

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