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14 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, quirky, best read in a long time.
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...
Published on 1 Jan 2009 by Tara

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars chick lit really
I was hugely disappointed with this book which came recommended by a friend (though she had read the French version). It raised a few smiles and it was interesting to see how different life was in Sweden, but I was glad when it came to an end (with the most improbable ending).
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by book groupie


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, quirky, best read in a long time., 1 Jan 2009
By 
Tara (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quirky and beautiful love story, 1 July 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (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.

"A couple of times we rented a video. Or rather, we've never rented just one, because we can never agree. We rent two. Then she gets out her flowery bag while my video's on, and I fall asleep during hers. We're like chalk and cheese [...] And I don't want it ever to end."

The chapters are short and sweet, which encourages you to keep reading further: 'just one more chapter...' The language is extremely quirky, and was the main factor in the novel that I struggled a little with - since it is a translation from Swedish (this book is a bestseller in Sweden), I am happy to accept that this might be the cause, but as an example the following sentence made me cringe a little:

"For some I'm a voter, for others a pedestrian, a wage earner, a consumer of culture, a human resource or a property owner. Or just a collection of split ends, leaking sanitary towels and dry skin."

One other issue I had with Benny and Shrimp is that later on in the story a character called Anita was re-introduced and I simply couldn't remember at what point I'd first heard about her - this is not because Anita was unmemorable, but because Benny and Shrimp completely dominate this novel. They are the only two characters I want to know about, and the periods where we hear about other characters are, to me, an unnecessary diversion. I do accept that other readers might feel differently, and enjoy the oddball cast of secondary characters.

In summary this was a beautiful but all too brief picture of a sweet love story between two extremely disparate characters. I have heard that a sequel is written in Swedish, but is waiting for translation into English: all I can say is that I want this translation done NOW so that I can hear more about Benny and Shrimp. Moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely chalk and cheese romance, 3 Mar 2009
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Swedish Delight, 19 Aug 2009
By 
M Ó Ruis (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (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
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read from Sweden, 7 Mar 2008
By 
Annika Blight "avid reader" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars simply wonderful, 14 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (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
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky romantic tale, 15 Dec 2009
This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars chick lit really, 11 Jan 2011
This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (Paperback)
I was hugely disappointed with this book which came recommended by a friend (though she had read the French version). It raised a few smiles and it was interesting to see how different life was in Sweden, but I was glad when it came to an end (with the most improbable ending).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 26 Sep 2010
By 
E. P. Newman "Ellie" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (Paperback)
Without wishing to spoil the ending Benny & Shrimp was an engaging story and a book that I have recommended to friends. I bought it the book as it was well rated in a review in a national UK newspaper. It's a quick read and worth the time spent. The characters are credible and it's well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An original and pleasant story, 27 Jan 2014
This review is from: Benny and Shrimp (Paperback)
I found the book very original and well written. Easy to read too, possibly due having the events presented through the alternating viewpoints of the two protagonists. Pleasantly ironic and some very fresh ideas, and some insights into Swedish farm life. Both protagonists are likeable, the farmer maybe more so, and appear very realistic. The only disadvantage is that it seemed very short. If compared to its sequel, the value of this first book increases even more.
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Benny and Shrimp
Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti (Paperback - 5 Feb 2009)
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