Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: July 10th, 2008
Movie Release: August 10th, 2018 on Netflix
Synopsis: Set in 1946, writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer on the island of Guernsey, who has a copy of a book that has her name and address in it. As they continue to correspond, she learns about how books influenced him and his community during the Nazi occupation. Juliet becomes so intrigued by the island and the residents that she wants to write her next book about their story.
I did watch the movie before I read the book. The movie actually inspired me to pick up the book, since historical fiction is not something I normally read.
The entire book is written in letters, telegrams, and journal entries. I was really intrigued by how that would be done, but I think they really pulled it off! It was interesting to see through letters how different characters became more comfortable with each other. My only issue with the letters was that I kept having to go back and check the dates they were written to figure out how much time had passed between each one, but that might just be a me problem. I think they were such a good way to really see how characters were feeling, especially Juliet, since most of the letters were from her.
I really liked Juliet as a main character. She is inquisitive and she wasn’t afraid to follow her passion as a writer. The way she wrote in her letters was honestly charming and if she was real, I think I would want to be her friend. I thought all the Guernsey residents were so lovable and as someone looking in, you can really feel how much they care for each other. I love found families and this was such a good one. I really enjoyed all the characters in this book, except for Mark!
The plot follows Juliet uncovering new things about the people of Guernsey through interviews and letters. It was interesting to see different parts of the story come together from people all over the island. The discussions of World War 2 got way more dark than I was expecting, but I am really glad it was pushed to the side or glossed over.
The one thing about this book that I wish was different was the ending. I did like what happened in the end, but it felt really abrupt with not much closure on certain things. However, this didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying the whole book and fondly looking back at it.
Book to Movie Comparison (SPOILERS):
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous to read the book after seeing the movie. I knew the book was written all in letters, but the movie only featured a few (three, if my memory is correct). I am happy to say that there were many more letters in the book overall, and especially more from before Juliet left for Guernsey! I can understand why the movie had less letters, since it would be pretty boring to just see people writing and reading letters.
The movie also pared down the number of characters in the Society and on Guernsey, as well as the timeline. I was really surprised by how many people were at the Society meetings in the book because in the movie, it was a pretty sparse group. I think they also combined some characters for the movie, which made sense. One character I liked a lot better in the movie was Mark. While I still didn’t like him, he was still better than book Mark. The movie seemed to take only a few weeks, while the book took 9 or 10 months.
The movie left out quite a few plot points from the books, including the letters Isola found and Elizabeth’s friend from the concentration camp. The movie is fairly long (about 2 hours) so I can understand why they left things out, but in the book, it just made added to the overall experience of the story.
Overall, I think the movie was a good adaption, despite the number of changes that were made. I don’t think a good movie adaptation has to be exact to the book, but rather it should convey the same kind of feeling and emotions as the book.