Benny and Shrimp Paperback – 6 Mar 2008
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"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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The chapters were narrated in turn by both Shrimp, a mousy widowed librarian, and Benny, a farmer, tied to the legacy of the farm that has become fossilised in time since the death of his mother. The two meet in the cemetery while visiting neighbouring graves and a flash of attraction sparks between them.
Each of these chapters begins with a snippet of irritating poetry, supposedly written by Shrimp.
Although they are immediately attracted to each other, they are also very different personalities, wanting very different things from life. Benny cannot leave the farm
"If you take my John Deere away from me and put me in a suit, I shall feel like a transvestite." and Shrimp cannot imagine how she could possibly "sprout an apron overnight".
Loc 772: "He asked if I made my own bread, and I said I thought bread grew on trees, and you either picked it as little rolls or let it ripen into big fat loaves."
It was these anecdotes that enlivened the book for me, but the ending was a disappointment. Strangely, within our book group there were two different endings. Some people finished with the metaphorical purchase of a pair of strappy, blue leather shoes, others had another chapter involving a meeting between Shrimp and Benny, with a rather ridiculous outcome. (I'll say no more).
This would make for an entertaining beach read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enjoyable read....a sad tale that asks is love enough?? Benny and the Shrimp find love but are not necessarily compatible.....Published 18 months ago by mandynolan
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. Read morePublished on 27 Jan. 2014 by SG
An enchanting read. I cared desperately about both characters and couldn't put it down until I found out their fate. That is very rare for what is essentially a love story. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2013 by RAP
started off quite well but within no time, one realises those two have nothing in common except loneliness. Read morePublished on 18 Mar. 2012 by scottish reader
I was hugely disappointed with this book which came recommended by a friend (though she had read the French version). Read morePublished on 11 Jan. 2011 by book groupie
Without wishing to spoil the ending Benny & Shrimp was an engaging story and a book that I have recommended to friends. Read morePublished on 26 Sept. 2010 by E. P. Newman
As different as chalk and cheese Benny and Shrimp are an unlikely couple, have little in common and aren't willing to make the changes necessary to make the relationship work. Read morePublished on 30 May 2010 by Elka
Refreshingly honest, thoughtful,heartbreaking and funny. Didnt know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. Read morePublished on 15 Dec. 2009 by l mclaren clark
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". Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2009 by M Ó Ruis