Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (July 28, 2009)
Source: FSB Associates
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.
Adorable doesn’t seem to be the correct word for this book because it isn’t cute & fluffy, yet “adorable” is one of the first words that popped into my head when searching for a description. Also quirky, fun, odd, amusing, and wonderful! I really, really liked this book!
It grabbed me on the very first page by the time I’d finished reading:
You’ll have to be on your guard!
An aggrieved, single woman in a distinctly abnormal emotional state. Who knows what I might get up to at the next full moon?
You’ve read Stephen King, haven’t you?
Benny single-handily runs a small family farm. Desiree (nicknamed Shrimp by Benny) is an intellectual who works at the town library. They meet at a cemetery of all places, as his parent’s grave is near her husband’s grave. At first, they are both irritated with each other for disturbing their graveside visits. They can tell at a glance that they have absolutely nothing in common and are from different worlds, which is why it surprises them both when they somehow fall into a relationship.
Most of the story deals with the two of them trying to come to terms with their relationship, merging their two very different lifestyles, and working out whether or not they can make things work. They are both smart, likable, middle-class adults with lives of their own, which made a refreshing change from the stereotypical young 20 year old falling for the older rich bachelor.
Loved the short chapters alternating between Benny and Shrimp’s point of view. Especially when describing the same moment as they remembered things differently, just like in “real” life. I identified with Shrimp more so than Benny, but thought Benny was the more sympathetic of the two. Gave this book a 5 out of 5 rating as I enjoyed it so much and thought that both the writing and the story were above average! I’m also pushing this book on all of my friends and co-workers, as I think everyone will enjoy it. Hope you give it a try, as I think it’s well worth reading!