At the beginning of the film the Nazis are shown confiscating pigs from a farm on Guernsey leaving the farmer to just go potatoes. Jersey royals grown on the neighbouring island are famous globally, I wondered whether the history of growing potatoes on the Channel Iskands stemmed back to being forced to grow them by Nazis.
Looking into, it the history goes back much further. Shipping records from 1537 showing potatoes arriving in the Channel Islands are the first known existence of potatoes outside the Americas.
The film was always going to be different to the book because the book is almost exclusively letters. I think the book, brings the film alive and handles some of the book’s flaws.
I was slightly confused, at the start of the book about who all the characters were; although I soon got into it. With the start being all letters between characters; you don’t get much of a description of characters making it hard to picture and distinguish them to start with. Whereas the film, brings the characters to life.
I like, that the film starts with the pig roasting incidence as it is the catalyst for the story and sets the scene well. Whereas book is slower burner.
Less letters are written in the film as that would not make great viewing. Sydney does not go to Australia or break his leg. Juliet just buys the book without the letters to the bookseller. This can be interpreted to ways; the book streamlines the plot or the film loses complexity of the book. Or alternatively, that they are different mediums and a slightly altered plot suits the two mediums differently.
Whilst the film, misses some of the letters, it does add by building the side plot of Mr Reynolds. They become, engaged in the film and then that engagement is broken off. Whereas in the book, how Juliet’s decision to marry Dawsey affects Mr Reynolds is not considered. The film does not go for a cheesy wedding scene to end; which does not happen in the book as the book is understated and grounded. The film ends with a happy scene then the credits are worth staying in the screen for. Over the credits, the book club discussions are played; to the Lighthouse is discussed. There is the poignant line ‘Reader I married him’.
The film includes some nice touches, that emphasises the love of books. In a previous post, I wondered; is the book a love letter to books? In the film the love of the Charles Lamb book by Dawsey and Juliet is shown. After Juliet leaves Geurnsey she finds flowers from Guernsey pressed into a book.
Films often spoil the books, but not in this case. The book and film are good companions. The film brings the book to life. You could read book first or see film first or read book around watching film. Or …. not read the book and just watch the film. It would be a good film standalone. It is about an interesting part of history; occupation of Guernsey Off the English coast by Nazis.
This is a picture of the lighthouse on St George’s Island Florida.
I watched Guernsey potato pie this evening and as the credits roll you hear snippets of their book club discussions including of Virgina Woolfe to the lighthouse. Like we said at my book club, the potato pie society thought, it lacked action!
Guernsey has several lighthouses, as an island with lots of coats.
The narrative of the book is almost all in the format of letters. Many of the letters express a love of books by different characters, a couple of notable quotes are as follows:
P9 “Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books, that brings them to their perfect readers.”
P9 “Always finding the one book I wanted and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted.”
The central character Juliet, is introduced to The Guernsey group because, Dawsey finds her address in a book that Juliet once owned. Dawsey, writes to share appreciation of the book and ask if Juliet, can point him in the direction of a book shop that could send him more books by the same author to the island. Indeed Juliet does contact a book seller for him. Correspondence begins between Dawsey and Juliet. Juliet a writer becomes intrigued about the Guernsey group and in part one receives correspondence from different members, who express their love of books.
Juliet judges men by their appreciation of books. On p24 it outlines how when a lover was going to move into his house, he was given his marching orders when he packed away her books from her shelves. Later she hopes a particular love interest does not order his books alphabetically.
In part 2 Juliet visits Guernsey. From Guernsey she corresponds with her friend and publisher; Sidney.
In the tradition of fairy tales which are childhood love stories; the book ends a wedding invitation in a letter.
The film of the book is out in the UK, one week today on 20th April.
I saw the trailer for this film a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I decided to buy the book and try to read it, before the film came out. I did not expect to complete it within 24 hours, especially as I also did a day’s work and slept.
It is only 240 pages and because, almost the whole book is in letters with addresses as the top, they are not whole pages.
The book is set after the end of world war 2. During World war 2, Guernsey which is an Island between England and France was occupied by Germans. The letters reminisce about war years; which seems an odd would to use. Indeed the book does seem all very jolly, at first I thought this was odd given that in actual fact the times described must have been quite grim. Then I realised in letters like you do when posting on social media you present a more positive version than in real life. From what I have seen of the trailer it seems, the film will all be very jolly and I suspect they will have missed the opportunity to show the layers between, what is written and the reality.
The book was an easy read and I suspect the film will be easy watching.