The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

To,The Art of Letter Writing,Current Status: LostAddress: UnknownDearest Friend,

I am sure you must be really surprised to receive this message from me after such a long time. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me for this long absence and absolute neglect or will any reason I give you for this absence be taken as naught but excuses? I have failed and I accept that but you should know that you were never forgotten. In fact, many a times, I thought of writing to you, just like in the old day

To,The Art of Letter Writing,Current Status: LostAddress: UnknownDearest Friend,I am sure you must be really surprised to receive this message from me after such a long time. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me for this long absence and absolute neglect or will any reason I give you for this absence be taken as naught but excuses? I have failed and I accept that but you should know that you were never forgotten. In fact, many a times, I thought of writing to you, just like in the old days, but what with the changes in time and advent of other means of communication, you were left untouched, simply waiting for the right moment to be loved as you were before. Ah my friend, do you remember how we used to go to the stores selling letter pads and how much we agonized together on the perfect pad for our letters? I still remember those good days and miss them a lot today. The sheer beauty in choosing the perfect pad to write our stories on, to send those thoughtfully created letters to our other friends and the agony of waiting for their replies and finally the exhilaration of receiving one, the rushing to one’s room for reading in privacy and the cycle of creating a reply for those messages. It was a beautiful time indeed and I am really sorry that it is now almost lost forever. I wish my daughter would know you my friend but her tastes unfortunately are different with the times, she prefers calling and talking. While I know that communication has become easy today, I still miss the beauty of those olden days. I know that you must be wondering as to why I am waxing poetic about the good old days of letter writing and must be shaking your head in confusion. You are right to wonder and to be confused and I do have a small secret to share with you. It is because of a book I read recently that I have realized just how much I missed you. Don’t hide your pain behind that smile, my friend, for I can see it even if you think me to be insensitive to have left you alone for so long. I cannot deny the fact that it took me a book to realise how much I had lost by abandoning you but trust me that the pain is mine as well, for I had lost something more precious than you had and I have to thank this book and its author for reminding me of the jewel that I had in my armoire of life. I can predict your next question. What book you ask and why did it affect me so, am I right? Well, it is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which brought me back to you. Don’t laugh at the title my friend for the pages within the covers of this book are definitely more beautiful than anything I have ever read. Poignant and serene, this book talks about a book club formed in an island, out of necessity and filled with people who had never read all their lives. The narrator is an author who is in between books when she receives a letter from a member of this book club, who incidentally has found a book that was inscribed with her name and address. The member was reading a second hand book that he found in a library on that island.I can see the small smile playing on your lips as you read this and the mischievous twinkle in your eyes and I am sure that you are thinking of the same thing as I am, remembering our adventures of scouring second hand book stores in the town. Do

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you remember the sheer bliss we felt when we found a book that was simply beautiful? Do you remember how the shop keeper, who despite being barely educated and not knowing much English, used to tell us which books to buy and which to avoid? Do you remember the pleasure of spending the last of our pocket money in the middle of the month on books and rushing home to read who it belonged to and creating stories of how this book must have left their hands and come into ours? Ah those were really good days weren’t they my friend? I remember that shop keeper very well and how he knew that we didn’t have much money and used to tell us to borrow it instead of buying it and how he kept books for us, those that he knew would be of interest to us, telling the other buyers that it was sold out! He was a gem of a man, wasn’t he? And do you remember our going to the Sunday flea market to get books at a real pittance, haggling with those vendors, who knew us so well that they would haggle only for fun? And then on coming home, I remember that I used to rush to write of a letter to my friends on my purchases and other experiences and how like the best friend that you are, you would go readily to their addresses and bring back their replies that I would be waiting for. Treasures they were and still are, lying in the bookshelves of my home, waiting to be perused again, read again and treasured again.This book talks about all that and more. It is a wonderfully lyrical ode to both books and letter writing. While it is written around the aftermath of WWII, I believe that emotions expressed in this book is applicable to all times. The characters of this book are common people like you and me, with the usual likes and dislikes. The only difference being that they have withstood the war and are actually limping back to life. The prose as I said is lyrical and doesn’t falter one bit to hold the reader’s attention. In fact, you would want to read it as you would sip wine while you are out wine tasting; gently, sip by sip, filling your mouth and allowing it to flow to all corners and then swallowing it, so be sure my friend to allow each page, each para, each word to be experienced by all corners of your mind and soul and you will see just what a beautiful book this is. Like with any person, these letters contain joy, sorrow, heartbreak and love, in various forms. While reading it, I remembered what a faithful friend you were to listen quietly to my heart’s pouring and gave me such peace of mind. Whether it was the first tingly feelings of a crush or the angst and glory of being in love or even the pain and sorrow of heartbreak, you my friend were the first to know. Like a soothing balm you helped me get over each experience of mine, if it was bad and at the same time, you were the first to rejoice if it was a good one. Through this book, I realized that it was not just me but so many others who you have helped by just being you and I am both humbled and elated at having had you as my friend. Though modern communication systems have ensured that we are well connected with our loved ones, my dear friend, you shall be always cherished by me, merely because the pleasure and beauty of that angst and exhilaration in writing, waiting and receiving, is no longer there today.As much as I want to set time back again to ensure that you live gloriously, I know in my heart that it is no longer possible. However, dear friend, do not fret for you will always stay alive through the medium of books as long as there are authors who write in ode to you and your beauty.It's farewell now my friend but I bid you adieu with the promise that you won’t lie forgotten for long and I shall give you the place you deserve in my heart and mind.Your ever loving and faithful friend,Srividya...more


Category: Review

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