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Benny and Shrimp Paperback – 6 Mar 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (6 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904977413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904977414
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.5 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,608,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"an offbeat, down-to-earth love story, refreshingly light to read and slightly addictive.... a novel that touches love's fundamentals." -- The Observer, March 2008

About the Author

Katarina Mazetti began her career as a teacher and gradually moved into broadcast journalism. She is a prize-nominated author, commentator, musician, poet and producer of 'Freja', a programme for women on Swedish Radio. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Rutter on 1 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Benny and Shrimp is a novel about discovering a new passion, and trying to make it work against the day to day problems of everyday life. When they meet at a cemetery - while Desiree (or "Shrimp") mourns her late husband, and Benny tends the shared grave of his parents - it is most definitely not love at first sight. Yet, against the odds, passion grows between Shrimp, the pale, bookish librarian and Benny, the overworked milk farmer. Katarina Mazetti writes in a quirky manner about the trials and tribulations of passion versus practicality: Shrimp is looking for a man who will come with her to the opera and who reads books for pleasure; Benny requires a woman who can keep the farmhouse running while he tends to the cows.

The chapters are told from alternate viewpoints, which made this read all the more pleasurable. Being able to see the same incident from both viewpoints ensured the reader always had sympathy and empathy for both parties in the relationship - unlike most love stories, where it is easy to throw your lot in with one injured party. Mazetti shows us that, most often, misunderstandings are the root of all problems in a relationship.

I adored the little bits of spiky poetry and commentary that headed up each of Shrimp's chapters - they gave a good measure of how she was feeling regarding Benny and the relationship:

"I have to get through the minutes one at a time, swallow them like bitter pills, try not to dwell on the vast number still left."

The strength of the novel is the realism with which the love story is presented. Benny and Shrimp are chalk and cheese and there is no automatic happy ending for them (although I am not going to spoil how it ends for the reader!) as there would be in a standard chick lit novel, say.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tara on 1 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. The writer did a great job bringing out both sides of the story. The passion seemed so real and tangible. It broke my heart and made me laugh. It seemed so real in that it wasn't given the Hollywood treatment. The characters were flawed, raw in places and full of the same range of mixed feelings we all have. I will definitely buy the sequel. Buy it, tell your friends and pass it on. It is a modern classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both heartwarming and heartwrenching, this romance of two thirtysomethings who are totally chalk and cheese was a truly wonderful story to read. Desiree is a widow; she works as a librarian and loves urban living and culture. Benny is a bachelor farmer. They meet in the cemetery where Desiree contemplates her late husband's austere gravestone, and adjacently Benny lovingly tends his parents' rather over the top plastic garden of a tomb.

They try to ignore each other, but one day the antics of a little girl playing at another grave make them turn and smile at each other and that's it! Love hits them like a bolt of lightning. How can a romance between a horny-handed son of the soil and the urbanite culture-vulture ever possibly work? This is their story.

Told in alternating chapters from Benny and Shrimp's points of views, (Shrimp is Benny's nickname for Desiree), we get their individual takes on the progress in their relationship. We experience all their ups, downs, frustration and exhilaration with them, and the tale is told with great humour and sympathy. I nearly cried with sadness at one point, then suddenly I was grinning with tears of happiness pricking my eyes instead.

A lovely, lovely book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M Ó Ruis on 19 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
For me this book is in a category of its own with other favourites such as "Three Cups of Tea" and "Oscar and the Lady in Pink". I read the book as soon as it arrived and never left it down until I was finished. It has a deliciously quirky sense of humour and is so imaginative in its approach that I was amazed that anyone could be so talented as to think it up. It is like the "Oscar" book in its originality. I seem to be the only male reviewing it so far. I intend to send copies to special friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Annika Blight on 7 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this story in Swedish a few years ago. It made me laugh a lot as well as enjoying the love story. An easy read for the beach or a rainy day. the sequel is even better, couldn't stop laughing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AW on 14 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
this was such a wonderful, gripping story, I couldn't put it down. I read in the review below that there's a sequel and I so hope it will be translated, too! Or I might have to learn Swedish, fast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By l mclaren clark on 15 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Refreshingly honest, thoughtful,heartbreaking and funny. Didnt know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. The writing is brilliant and I challenge anyone not to enjoy this quirky love story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is translated from Swedish and although appearing to be simplistically written, its observations are beautiful and intelligently observed.
It is structured in chapters that alternate between Benny and Shrimp; their voices feeling very real and engaging. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to understand more about relationships, and why they do and don't work. The male and female perspective work very well indeed and reiterate the Men Are From Mars and Women are From Venus message, which I think is a valid one.
I really liked the characters, and not just the protagonists, but the other characters too, such as Shrimp's best friend Marta and her work colleagues at the library, all of them playing a part in portraying Shrimps perspective and outlook on life. The core theme of the book, in my opinion, is loneliness and our search to find our place and purpose in the world, through love, distractions or hobbies.
I feel like I've read my first chick-lit novel ... it was an easy read, and was over too quickly for my liking, with only 221 pages. All in all a very enjoyable novel, but for me, I would prefer something with a bit more depth.
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