The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

{ 2008 | The Dial Press | 288 pgs }

I’m secretly a little disappointed that this book was good. I didn’t expect it to live up to its hype. Or maybe I just wished I had more unique taste than “the masses.” Honestly, that’s the same reason I held off on reading the Harry Potter series…what’s my deal?

Alright, so The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written entirely in letters (with the odd telegram thrown in) and takes place during WWII. It’s amusing, touching, interesting, and educating (insofar as it’s historically accurate, of course). For a moment I was going to say that the only two epistolary (!) books I’ve read were both British, but I remembered that Dear Mr. Henshaw is another – and definitely American. (The other British book was Sorcery and Cecilia. But – silly me – I also read its sequel, The Grand Tour, which I guess makes four epistolary novels I can think of at the moment.) Back to where I was, though: TGLAPPPS was every bit as good as I had heard. My only complaint is that despite its solemn topic and sometimes tragic storyline, at the end I almost felt as if it lacked substance. The plot finished a little too neatly and happily.

Have you read it? Am I way off here? Maybe I just wanted some tiny aspect to criticize so I felt superior to the masses…

Buy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Amazon


June has her own idea of style, and it doesn’t involve the “proper” use of sleeves.


Evan came down with something today – best guess, it’s Hand Foot and Mouth disease; it’s been going around Provo. Sadly, June was already down with a cold and teething, and woke up at 4:45 this morning needing medicine. While I tried to get her calmed down enough to go back to bed, Evan woke up. And stayed up. Jarom was super nice to help Evan out (I was super grouchy and childish) until he (Jarom) had to go to work. I managed to get June to sleep again, and I tried dozing a little bit more, hoping that Evan would realize how tired he was (IT WAS TOO EARLY) and fall asleep on his own. No, he stayed strong until after 11, at which point he started complaining that his mouth hurt. The good thing: he’s old enough to let me look in his mouth with a light and doesn’t panic or throw a fit about it. Anyway, tons of red spots on the roof and back of his mouth. Poor kid. He finally went to sleep about 11:30 and was completely out until 4:30. Then, of course, he was bouncing off the walls.

It’s certainly a cycle with him. Woefully miserable or painfully (for me) energetic. I hope he sleeps ok tonight. We had planned to go to a playgroup tomorrow afternoon, but I suppose that’s out of the question now. When I was helping Evan get into pajamas I noticed spots on his legs. Since he’s my oldest, I’ll probably go to the doctor tomorrow, since I can’t decide between “The doctor will tell me to give him lots of fluids and alternate painkillers, which I’m doing already” and “What if it’s chicken pox? Or he’s dying?”

In the meantime, Evan is getting some much-needed rest.

Cookie jar

Row 1: mug / cake / jack-o-lantern
Row 2: panda / necklace / flower print
Row 3: volcano print / door / embroidery
Row 4: landscape / shirt / calendar
Row 5: teapot / flower print / brooch
Row 6: shirt / landscape / camping print
Row 7: bear print / vase / ring


Hi, friends.

I ought to be working on a paper. Two papers, actually. And studying for two tests. (Haven’t even made it to finals yet.) Better yet, I should be taking a nap while both kids are quietly contained in separate rooms.

Instead, I thought I’d give you hope that this blog will continue.

June turned one a few weeks ago! We had a party. I think milk and cookies makes great first-birthday fare, especially if you just buy the cookies. I planned to make these – they sound delicious – but who am I kidding? I don’t have time to make cookies, even with a full-size oven. Which I also don’t have. Wait! Back up. First I wanted to show you the invitations I made, because I did have the time and energy to paint, and these turned out amazing. See?

June's first birthday

It seemed fitting to go brightly colored, as June’s personality is pretty cheerful, so I did a rainbow theme for the party. I had a whole Pinterest board of ideas, most of which never happened. I ended up with this:

Party decor

And this:Party decor

(I was really, really excited to get that giant gold 1 balloon. We’ll definitely get a 3 for Evan’s birthday – sidenote, 3 soon? How?)

June had fun opening presents, more than Evan did at his first birthday. The cake, though…I made a tiny cake (it was really hideous. Never let me bake anything again) with frosting and sprinkles, but all she did was poke it with one finger. Then a different finger. Eventually she was cautiously placing both hands in the frosting. Even after Jarom showed her the cake underneath, she was uninterested. I think we had the right idea giving Evan a donut when he turned one. My kids definitely know what to do with those.

Unrelated story: A few days before the party, we took the kids trick-or-treating at the law school. June grabbed a Tootsie Pop without me noticing right at the beginning and managed to dissolve the wrapper and pretty well eat the entire sucker. Needless to say, she was completely coated in sticky drool. So were Jarom and I, who had switched off carrying her. Yuck.

But. Also, June is adorable. And walking!

(Sorry, walking is not pictured here.)

Evan is imaginative. He likes to pretend he’s a monster, pretend he has friend mice who go outside to play with him and the neighbor’s little girl, pretend June is in trouble and he has to rescue her, and run around the house shouting nonsense words. I suspect he’s a pretty typical little kid. Also, like June, he’s adorable.

This Christmas we’ll be taking the train to California, and Evan is desperately excited. Me too. I’ll be honest, though, a lot of my excitement is along the lines of “School will be over! I’ll just have the normal stress of traveling with two kids! No homework! No tests! School will be over!” Can you tell I’ve been pretty occupied lately?

I’m in the process of designing graduation announcements for Jarom and me. They will be amazing. Seriously, I’m doing the design and having them letterpressed by a local artist. It’s a big deal! (The graduation is, I mean. And the announcements will reflect that, I hope.) It keeps me at least a little bit motivated to finish up the semester.

Speaking of, I really ought to go work on that paper now.

P.S. There was an unusual adjective I wanted to use as the title of this post, but I couldn’t remember it, so I googled “unusual words.” The first site was this list of unusual words, one of which was “lethologica,” which is formally a psychological disorder of forgetting key words and phrases but colloquially an inability to recall the precise word for something. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.