Meet nine-year-old Benjamin Kritzer. Growing up in 1950s Los Angeles, Benjamin believes that his parents are Martians, his brother is psychotic, and that he’s being followed by Bad Men. He loves movies, movie theaters (especially ones with staircases for him to roll down), eating Shrimp Cocktail shrimps out of the big barrel in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant, and loves buying chocolate donuts from the Helms man. His strange grandparents live across from Ocean Park Pier, and his grandfather constantly says, ‘What is it, fish?’ in response to whatever plate of food is put in front of him. Benjamin’s father sits at home in a pajama top and nothing else, while Benjamin’s mother is given to punishing Benjamin with a wooden hanger. However, Benjamin doesn’t let anything get him down, and greets each day with wonder and a uniquely Benjamin sense of humor.But when he meets nine-year-old Susan Pomeroy, his entire world changes, as he and Susan embark on a relationship that is totally magical. Hilarious and touching, Benjamin Kritzer is a valentine to growing up in a more innocent time, a valentine to a child’s ability to persevere, and a very unexpected love story.
Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
"Benjamin Kritzer is such a wonderful love letter to Los Angeles in its impeccable detail of 50's LA. For me, however, it reminds me of such times of that first crush in school where you thought you couldn't live without the other person and brings to mind what a wonderful Valentine's present this would be for a child or adult. This book is also an example of memoir being used as a form of delightful escape from the serious times we face today. If you are a person who likes to dream, laugh, remember movies, and yearn for LA passed, this is a must read. You'll laugh your rear off."
— Justina, Los Angeles, CA
"If you are ever in need of a quick trip to a world unlike your own, pick up a copy of Benjamin Kritzer today! As soon as I read the first line, I was transported to LA in the late 1950s, a decade I never experienced in reality. Bruce Kimmel's writing style captures the reader's attention; it is never over one's head. In this way, both readers who grew up during this decade and those who never knew it can relate to his stories. I especially loved the tender moments between Benjamin and his first love, Susan. While it may have appeared to be puppy love, it was truly so much more. After finishing Benjamin Kritzer, I immediately read the second installment, Kritzerland, and I'm eagerly awaiting the third! Read them--you'll be hooked!."
— Laura C, Virginia
"I love this book. I was hooked on the title character and his heartfelt antics from the very first line of the prologue. Through his vivid, loving description of 1950's Los Angeles, Bruce Kimmel draws his readers into a world where nine year olds can eat copious amounts of shrimp, fall in love, and practice rolling down stairs in a movie theatre without fear of being mugged or molested. This is a beautiful story that will make you laugh, make you cry, and even make you a bit nauseous from time to time when senile grandparents are seen through the eyes of nine year old Benjamin Kritzer. I read this book in about twenty-four hours and look forward to reading it again and again. It is a timeless tale of first love and the lessons we learn as we go from being nine to ten."
— Rebecca Mertz, Edgewater, MD
Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
"From the first page in which the reader first meets the charmingly eccentric young Benjamin Kritzer to the last page, I was hooked. Bruce Kimmel has created some truly memorable characters in this sweet, hilarious and poignant novel set in the fifties--among them the title character and the little girl with whom he finds true if innocent romance. The novel is soaked in the sights and sounds of fifties pop culture--I was not alive in this era of Stereophonic Sound and Joan Crawford weepies, but this novel transported me into a gentler era, or at least the illusion of one. I can't count how many times I laughed reading of Benjamin's (and his family's) capers--I really felt like I was inside the mind of a 9-year old Los Angeles boy trying to make sense of the world around him as much as he is the platitudes his mother is fond of tossing at him. I cannot recommend Benjamin Kritzer highly enough, and I look forward to reading its sequel, Kritzerland."
— Maya Cantu, Woodbridge, VA
"I urge you to buy this book; take the phone off the hook; get comfortable, and prepare to smile from the moment you open the front cover to long after you’ve closed the back cover. This book is funny, charming -- in a word, enchanting. I feel like I have met an extraordinary new friend in this character. The book went way too fast, but I anxiously await the next visit with my new best friend, and so will you. Bruce Kimmel has created a living, breathing kid of 9 years old going on 45 and given us all the privelege of meeting him."
— Kerry Hughes, Phoenix, AZ