Publication Date: 2009
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge #40
Set in Sweden it’s the story of Benny, a 30ish bachelor dairy farmer and Desiree (nicknamed Shrimp) a 30ish widow who works as a librarian. They first meet at a cemetery where Desiree’s husband is buried next to Benny’s parents. Although they have a strong and almost overpowering physical attraction to each other, Benny and Shrimp find that the course of true love definitely does not run smoothly.
Told in alternating chapters by each of the main characters the story often overlaps to show their different perspectives on the same events. While I enjoyed a lot about the book I almost felt like the ending was awkward and almost as if the author struggled to find a way to wrap up the story.
In many ways it’s a very realistic portrayal of the awkwardness of developing a relationship when both parties have already established their individual lives, habits and interests. Benny and Shrimp definitely have very different ways of life – she’s more urban and enjoys reading and the opera. He’s a dairy farmer whose llifestyle has to revolve around the milking schedules and he’d much rather watch a movie like Police Academy.
I thought the struggles they shared in trying to figure out if they really could create a life together was done well with both humor and poignancy. It’s a little bit funny, a little bit sad, a little bit charming and for me a little bit frustrating. I found myself both liking and disliking each of the main characters at different times.
All in all I thought it was a quick and quirky little book, but the ending just left me feeling a bit flat. I think I might have liked it better without the last two chapters.