Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of a kind. You can just tell by the title, can't you? ;) I first read this book in seventh grade, when my Power of the Pen instructor recommended it to me. She knew in general what kind of books I was interested in, so I gave it a try. I LOVED it!

GLPPPS (as I will be abbreviating it) is based in post-WWII England. It is an epistolary novel, meaning it is made up of letters. Dawsey Adams, a farmer from the island of Guernsey, finds Juliet Ashton's name on some of his new books. He really likes the books, and decides to send her a letter. Little does he know what he's starting!


This letter starts an ongoing correspondence between aspiring authoress Juliet and the quirky citizens of Guernsey. Juliet would like to write a story on reading and the impact it can have on people, as GLPPPS helped the people of Guernsey during the Nazi invasion.

This book has light, charming correspondence, and it also has some deep aspects, such as the Nazi occupation in the island of Guernsey. They were the only part of England to be occupied.

Juliet is such a kindred spirit. She loves reading about as much as I do (which is considerably, you know!).
She is charming, funny, and she is strong. She finds humor and hope in everything. Not just anyone could write a humorist column during the war. She is not shallow, though. She can be serious and she has a wonderful mother-instinct. (I'm thinking of Kit here.)

Dawsey Adams may seem shy and unimportant at first, but this is definitely not the case. How many people could write to a virtual stranger just because they liked the book they used to own? He is what I would describe as a "gentleman farmer." He is reliable, loyal, kind, and smart. He is the glue that keeps GLPPPS together. He is rather quiet, but he is a wonderful friend and would do anything for those he cared about. It's a surprise to me anyone would find him uninteresting.

The island of Guernsey
As Juliet so accurately says, "I have fallen in love with two men: Eben Ramsey and Dawsey Adams. Clovis Fossey and John Booker, I like. I want Amelia Maugery to adopt me; and me, I want to adopt Isola Pribby." Elizabeth McKenna deserves a shout out too, as she is fabulous! *SPOILER* I was so upset that she was taken to a Nazi concentration camp. I had hoped, along with the people of Guernsey, that she would be found. The news of her death was quite a blow. *END OF SPOILER* These characters live. I laughed at their funny shenanigans and stories, I cry and rage at the Germans and their treatment of their captives, and I smile like an idiot at the end of the story.

This story is a fairly short and easy read, but definitely worth the while. It has so much character and emotion in it. I would recommend it, as I think it's fairly one-of-a-kind. And, there are rumors of a movie adaptation being made, and so of course you must read the book first! Fingers crossed that the director, screenwriters, and all the people working on the film can catch the essence of the story!

Guernsey's Nazi invasion

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Review of "Roman Holiday"

I don't know if I've shared this before, but I love old television shows and movies. I kept hearing about "Roman Holiday." And since I love old shows, and adored Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" and Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird," I knew I had to see it.

So when I saw it while browsing the library shelves, it was a given. I sat down with a pad of paper and a pen and cuddled up for some good old fashioned romance. I was not disappointed.

Princess Anne (Hepburn) is taking a A European tour. She is sheltered and guarded to within an inch of her life. One night, she is able to escape and have a little adventure in Rome. She meets a young American newspaper man (Peck) and- you will never guess- they fall in love. But the ending is not  predictable. It's rather bittersweet, I warn you. 

So, in the beginning of the film Audrey starts out looking elegantly regal in a beautiful gown with shining jewels. She has a humorous but cringe-worthy scene where she loses her high heeled shoe. She acts the part of benevolent princess and dances and smiles through the ball.   

Later that evening, with Countess Vereberg, her guardian, she finally snaps and loses her composure. She does not want to act respectful and charmed and put together all the time. She is very young, so I believe that's rather to be expected. She gets a little hysterical and the countess sends for the doctor. The doctor gives her a shot to calm her down and go to sleep. (suspicious, no?) 

After they leave to let the medicine take effect, Ann flees. When she is in Rome, all alone, the medicine starts to work and she starts getting very sleepy. This is how Joe Bradley, the newspaper man, finds her. He doesn't know who she is. There are several silly scenes where Princess Anne is feeling rather silly. He finds out her identity the next morning (And Ann doesn't know he knows). He pretends he has no idea who she is. They have a wonderful day doing whatever Anne wishes in Rome. Joe hopes to get a story on her and has his friend, Irving, take pictures of the Princess. (Discreetly of course, so she doesn't know.) 

I won't share their adventures and shenanigans on this post. It would give away the whole movie. But there were many ;). 

The scenery was fantastic. This was actually filled in Rome and has many stunning shots. The clothes were lovely- I loved Audrey's outfits! Her new hairstyle suited her, I think.

It is an old movie, so there are no inappropriate scenes. Joe Bradley does take Princess Anne back to his apartment, but only because she cannot (or will not) tell him where she is staying. Nothing happens though, so it's safe. :) 

Have any of you seen Roman Holiday? What's your favorite black and white film?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cranford Movie Review

I watched Cranford for the second time late June. I took notes and told myself I would do a review on my blog ASAP.... well, obviously that didn't happen. But I love Cranford and its inhabitants to itty bitty bits, so I must review it! :) ("'Why are you putting cologne on a handkerchief?' 'She seemed in such distress. She wrote in exclamation points!") Pardon me for the parentheses, I couldn't help myself. Although I am not in distress ;) 

Now, on to the review! For those of you who haven't seen or read Cranford, here is a brief description from the wonderful IMDb: "In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town."  While this description is good, it misses out on the feel and old fashioned loveliness of it all. (which is hard to do in one paragraph, I confess.) 


First of all, the acting is fabulous. Wonderful Dame Judi Dench plays Miss Mattie, who is sweetness personified. The other wonderful and fantastically quirky and lovable characters are Mrs. Forrester, Miss Pole (her faces are priceless!), Miss Tomkinson, and Miss Jamieson. Miss Deborah was almost like Marilla Cuthbert, a bit prickly, but under it all is a good heart. 

It is an account of all the comings-and-goings in a "typical" English village in the 1800s. Starting with the coming of Mary Smith-who comes to Cranford to get away from her new stepmother and her attempts to marry her off- to the new young doctor (who to my surprise was Mr. Bingley from P&P '05.) who had the audacity to wear a red coat. He was quickly corrected by the senior doctor and told to get a black coat. (In point of fact, I liked the red one better.) Then comes the blow of the news of the railroad coming to Cranford. Needless to say, it did not meet with the ladies approval. 

It would take me forever to chronicle all the sad and amusing moments of Cranford, so I suggest you watch it yourself and enjoy, as I did. I would like to warn you about a couple deaths (although it seems like everyone). I will not mention who, as that would spoil it for you, but I thought you ought to be semi-prepared. 

I feel I cannot do justice to the mini-series in one cohesive post, so I will just put down my jots and scribbles in a non-cohesive post and hope I catch some of its charm.

-Miss Deborah's face when Mary says she came by the railway is priceless!

- Miss Mattie's gossip when Mary first arrives is so amusing! Especially when she was talking of a pick cart that got wedged and tipped, and Mary asks if anyone was hurt, to which she replies "Oh no; BUT there was talk of calling the constable!" (astonishing, don't you agree?)

-I simply loved Miss Deborah and her gentle reproof of Martha, the maid. "Whatever-Martha-has-said- MADAM." haha


-The orange scene is EPIC. "We shall consume our fruit in solitude."

-I was so proud of Dr. Harrison (Bingley) and his unheard of operation. Thank goodness it went well! And the dear ladies of Cranford offering up their candles for it was heartwarming.

-"No women is the equal of a man. She is superior in every place." -Miss Deborah :D

- Not only was Mr. Bingley in Cranford, but Willoughby from S&S '95 and Carson from Downton Abbey made appearances as well.

-I must mention the scene where the poor cat ate the lace stitched by hand by nuns in the 1400s!

- And I admit, I totally shipped Miss Galindo and Mr. Carter. It ought to have happend, Miss Gaskell!

-I wish Miss Mattie had gotten the turban she had wanted


-Harry and Mr. Carter's relationship... leaves me speechless.

-I think my readers may find this quote of Miss Pole's to be amusing, I know I did! "My father was a man; I think I understand the sex." :) dear Miss Pole

-oh, Miss Mattie and her fear of a man being under the bed. The ball was a good idea. "Very well, there is no man concealed there." 

-I kind of also shipped Jack Marshland and Mary... did anyone else?

- Miss Pole bringing Thomas Holbrook's silhouette to Miss Mattie restored my faith in humanity

-Miss Mattie and her "dream baby" left me nonplussed... I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.


- Sometimes I can't stand Lady Ludlow, and other times, I feel I can understand her perfectly. She and Aunt Hetty from Road to Avonlea do that to me.

-I was so pleased at Miss Jesse's happy ending. :D

-Peter! Oh, PETER PETER PETER! *ahem* Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

-So, I was rather proud of myself this time- the little tears didn't appear until the end.

So, I hope you at least got the gist of what I am trying to say- if not.... well just go and watch it yourself and then you will understand. :)

Oh, I don't think I have mentioned before, but I have a sister. The reason I saw fit to mention her now is because she actually watched Cranford with me! She usually doesn't "do" period dramas. She even left a footnote at the bottom of my notes which reads as follows:

"Hi sissy :) You took wonderful notes :) Everyone thought that doctor dude was in love with, I wouldn't be surprised if even the men thought the doc had a thing for them! Plus, so many people died!!! What a movie!"

My sister has a liking for emoticons... but I think she liked it. She won't admit it but... maybe she'll watch more! 

So, in the words of my sister, what a movie!

Here they all are, waving goodbye
P.S. I wonder if anyone knows how to make a blog button? I'd like to make one, but I do not know how... comment below if you know! :)