Benny & Shrimp. Finished 9-4-16, rating 3.75/5, fiction, 209 pages. pub. 1998
An international sensation, this addictively readable tale asks the question: Why is it so impossible to get a relationship between two middle-aged misfits to work? The answer lies in the story of Shrimp, a young widowed librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order; Benny, a gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village’s Old Bachelor; and an unlikely love that should not be as complicated as it seems. Reminiscent of the works of Carol Shields, this quirky, humorous, beautifully told novel breathes new life into the age-old conundrum that is love.
I realize that I am now middle aged, but calling 35 &36 year olds washed up, middle aged, has-beens was a bit of a stretch for me. Not that I didn’t love them, but Benny and Desiree kept trying to make me feel like they were older than they really were. This could, of course, just be a difference in culture. This book is translated from Swedish, so maybe people are put out on the shelf earlier than they are here. I totally understood Desiree’s clicking biological clock. Been there at that age so totally believable.
Aside from the middle aged issue, I really liked these two quirky characters who were leading different lives and couldn’t seem to find a way to meld them together. A clear case of opposites attract told with great truth and insight. I see that some friends who read the book didn’t like end. I didn’t see it coming, but I actually think it was an ending true to the characters. I understand there’s a sequel and I wouldn’t mind checking out what happens to Benny & Shrimp.
I loved learning more about life in Sweden and the running of a dairy farm. A fun read and book 4 in my Book a Day challenge.