Saturday, August 29, 2009

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

I cannot pass up a book about a librarian. I don't know why that is, but if there's a librarian in the story I'm going to read it. That is how I found Benny & Shrimp and it sounded SO promising!
From the front cover:
It started in a cemetery, where they begrudgingly share a bench. "Shrimp," the childless young widow and librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order, meets Benny, the gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village's Old Bachelor. Both driven by an enormous longing and loudly ticking biological clocks, they can't escape the powerful attraction between them.

This is Katarina Mazetti's first novel for adults and is translated from Swedish by Sarah Death(!!!). It was, as some of the endorsements have said, offbeat and quirky but in the end I was disappointed. I believe the fault lies not with the author or the story but with my perception of it. I'll be honest. I was expecting a funny, sweet romance between a librarian and a dairy farmer. What you get instead is an offbeat and quirky story of two incompatible people trying desperately to fall in love. I should have known there'd be trouble when I noticed there was a reader's guide and discussion questions in the back. Easy, uncomplicated, feel-good books do not often come with reader's guides and discussion questions. The book ends rather abruptly and I noticed in the author interview that she mentions writing a sequel but there is no mention of the title nor can I find any additional information from the modest amount of digging I've done. arghhh!

So, to sum up. Benny & Shrimp is offbeat and quirky but don't go into it in a particularly romantic frame of mind.


Anonymous said...

I loved this book!!! Real life is messy, complicated and does not always have a "happily ever after" does have a sequel-and I am on pins and needles waiting to see when it will be translated. I agree that this book leaves a lot of loose ends-but hopefully the sequel will entertain and complete the story.

Holley T said...

I did not mean to imply that I didn't like the book, only that my first impression based on the front flap copy was skewed after I got into it. I had to pause and reorient myself to what I was reading, very much like if I had ordered a soft drink and got iced tea instead. I still like iced tea but that first sip is a shock because I was expecting something else entirely.