Book reviews

Mood boosting books: reviews from Trust staff


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I was attracted by the quirky title of this book and having spent some time in the Channel Islands I was particularly interested in the subject, although you don’t have to be a literature or history buff to enjoy it.

It is a delightful book that cleverly uses a correspondence format to tie together past and present, fact and fiction in a humourous and witty manner. The characters are well-developed and believable. The resilience and ingenuity shown by the islanders during the wartime Nazi occupation is both moving and uplifting and the love and friendship between them is definitely mood-boosting.


Essential poems from the Staying alive trilogy edited by Neil Astley

I haven’t read poetry for years and I don’t really know why.  When the mood-boosting books arrived, I picked this one up because I wasn’t expecting a poetry book.  After reading some of the poems and the information about the poets in the appendix, I definitely understand why this collection has been included.  I love the way that a poet can encapsulate in just a few words thoughts, ideas, emotions that the rest of us would take pages to try to describe.

Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war

Is not so much peace as civilisation?

From All of these people by Michael Longley


The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend

I read this for the first time on a long train journey, and roared with laughter.  I don’t know what the other people on the train thought as the tears of laughter streamed down my face, but I had a wonderful time.  It certainly made me very cheerful.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The author focuses on three women living in America’s deep south in the late 50s – early 60s.  Two of them Negro servants (Abileen and Minny) and the other a white girl desperate not to be a part of the culture of racism and cruelty that abounded at the time.  I loved the friendship between Abileen and Minny and Abileen’s relationship with ‘baby girl’ as she raised a white woman’s child.  My favourite moment in the book was when Minny, so fed up with the humiliations she suffered at the hands of her white lady mistress, Miss Hilly, finally got her revenge.  They say revenge is a dish best served cold.  Well, I’ll let you read the book to discover how Minny served up HER revenge.


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