The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by

Ann Shaffer

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John Booker Character Analysis

John Booker isn't a native of Guernsey; he arrived on the island right before the start of the war as a servant to Lord Tobias. Lord Tobias wanted to wait out the war on the island, but left as soon as the Germans bombed Guernsey. Booker, however, decided to stay: he loves alcohol, and Lord Tobias was unable to take the contents of his wine cellar with him. After a few months, Booker became friendly with Elizabeth and Amelia, as they'd heard his mother was Jewish and wanted to warn him that the Germans were registering Jews. To help him, Elizabeth concocted a plan for Booker to impersonate Lord Tobias and even painted his portrait. The plan worked, and Booker spent three years drinking wine and pretending to be Lord Tobias. He's a member of the Literary Society and is partially responsible for its inception: his drunken singing caused him, Dawsey, and Elizabeth to be discovered by the Germans after Amelia's pig feast. He attends Society meetings regularly, but only reads Seneca the Younger's book The Letters of Seneca over and over again. He finds the letters witty and applicable to his life. Other Society members often mention trying to get Booker to read something else, but nobody is successful in this endeavor. Right before Juliet comes to Guernsey, Booker writes to her about what happened after he was discovered to be a fraud. He was sent to Neungamme and then to the Belsen concentration camp, where he was made to first run through fields to clear them of live bombs and then dig mass graves for dead victims of the concentration camps. Though he cannot speak about this trauma, he has a full life in the present. His time as Lord Tobias instilled in him a love of acting and he acts in several local productions. Isola also admits to Sidney that Booker is gay.
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John Booker Character Timeline in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The timeline below shows where the character John Booker appears in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One, 31st January, 1946
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...began, but they decided to go home anyway. Dawsey walked with Elizabeth McKenna and John Booker. Drunk, John started singing and attracted the attention of German officers. Elizabeth told the officers... (full context)
Part One, 12th March, 1946
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
...milk fever and Dawsey acquired the carcass. Nobody wanted to eat it, so Dawsey and Booker decided to try to make soap. They gave it to the Society ladies as gifts. (full context)
Part One, 27th March, 1946
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John Booker begins a letter to Juliet. He explains that he only reads one book over and... (full context)
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Booker writes that at the start of the war, Lord Tobias purchased a manor on Guernsey... (full context)
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Booker worked his way through the cellar uninterrupted until September, when Elizabeth and Amelia warned him... (full context)
Part One, 26th April, 1946
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...down. Dawsey tells Juliet that the Society is going to the theater to see John Booker and Clovis Fossey in Julius Caesar. (full context)
Part One, 16th May, 1946
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Booker writes Juliet again. He explains that he'll welcome her when she arrives, but he can't... (full context)
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At the camp, Booker was sent into fields to clear unexploded bombs. He kept telling himself that he was... (full context)
Part Two, 22nd May, 1946
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...Kit sat on Eli's shoulders and looked dark and forbidding. Dawsey offered Juliet flowers from Booker, who was in the hospital, and Juliet believes Dawsey has the sweetest smile. Then, Juliet... (full context)
Part Two, 7th July, 1946
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...assured Isola that Juliet has always known, she kissed him, said that he's just like Booker, promised to keep it a secret, and started talking about Oscar Wilde's plays. He wants... (full context)
Part Two, 24th August, 1946, 2:00 a.m.
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...Bee's room, but she and the letters were gone. Juliet called Dawsey and he called Booker to warn him. Dawsey and Juliet started to run down the hill when they passed... (full context)
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Booker arrived, wearing a uniform jacket, with Remy carrying a hoe. Booker growled that he wouldn't... (full context)