P Benson’s product reviews – why love when you can hate?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar front cover - P Benson wants this book banned!

I was told earlier that my blog posts about JG Thirlwell read like love letters, which is fair, because I love him more than Garfield loves Pooky, but he’s far from the only craven idol in my life. There’s Bethesda supremo Todd Howard, AKA My Lurrrve-Hobbit: I have frequently threatened to “pop him on my lap and stroke him like a kitten”. There’s Everett True, who drives me absolutely nuts but is still this guy to me:



There’s my friend-and-colleague Steve, who speaks at least a dozen languages and is one of the smartest guys I know (and I know some seriously smart people). I once drunkenly hugged him at the office party while declaring that he was “just a gweat biiig bunny wabbit“, which wouldn’t have been quite so toe-curlingly awful if he didn’t hate to be touched – or if he hadn’t been showing his brand new recruit around at the time. I hugged the new manager, too, who immediately decided that this was just the best company ever. And there’s my modding muse Korana, who incites me to mutter What Would Korana Do? every time I’m making a new doll’s house for my play people. I’m wondering at which point I’ll stop crediting every mod I make to Korana for “inspiration” – or whether I ever should. Of those not personally known to me, Gary Oldman makes the list because I’ll watch anything he’s in – that goes beyond my simple fangirl love for Karl Urban or Johnny Depp because it takes a special kind of devotion to sit through The Scarlet Letter.

So you get the idea: when I love someone or something, I have about as much restraint as a puppy with a fresh, juicy bone. I like to talk about things I love. I like to shout about things I love.  I don’t pay much attention to the things I don’t like because I’d rather not spend any more time with them than I need to. I don’t want to end up like P Benson.

P Benson is a man on a mission. He wants us to stay away from Bad Things. For example, on this reader review at Amazon of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he wrote:

“Ban this book!

Having revisited this book with my youngest daughter I was horrified to realise its deeper meaning and shadowy content. The book is no more than a blatant brainwashing session for a lesson in greed, consumerism and capitalism. No wonder we have raised a generation of corporate thieves who have brought the country to its knees. For “caterpillar” replace with any ‘financial multinational’ as it devours business after business (or leaves and fruit if you are happy to innocently believe its deceiving content). No wonder the caterpillar’s face is red. Red with shame no doubt. Page 6 makes me physically sick to my stomach and reminds me of how we were duped to sell off the railways. People wake up! this is Orwell’s Animal Farm all over again (but in reverse). E Carle you have alot to answer for. I wont even go into my personal thoughts on his hellish novelette ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see ?’ It would probably see a lot more if only it was given the opportunity. Avoid and remove from your shelves today – you would be safer reading your children Mein Kampf off to sleep than this hideous nightmare message of Greed is Good dogma.”

He was already having a hard time, since his experience with Lynx (Ax) deodorant was less than satisfactory.

“Product has arrived but has a big red sticker on it saying do not open. I smell so bad the dog wont even come near me. Help!”

Mr Benson was somewhat happier with his Jamie Oliver potato peeler:

“The Big Boy from Saffron Waldron has done it again. How does he get time to think up these things. Probably when he is on the long boring plane journey to the states to film his latest series. Its perfect for me with my fat fingers because of its long handle. If you have pork sausages (with sage and apple) for fingers buy it ! Also good for cleaning rugger boots, removing hard skin from feet and reducing the girth of rubber toys.”

Even that wasn’t enough to compensate for his disappointment with The Girl Who Played With Fire:

“Dangerous advice

The title is every parents nightmare and does nothing to highlight to young children the dangers of fire and its use as a toy. I could not bring myself to read the rest of the book from the title but any young female who plays with fire…..well i can just imagine the consequences. If only they still played the “charlie says” adverts in cinemas and during ad breaks for childrens TV programmes the world would be a safer place. Three stars as I believe there is a sequel so I presume she survives.”

or the one before it, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:

“Misleading. Has a picture of Daniel Craig on the front but he is not mentioned throughout and I read it twice to make sure. I assumed this was the latest Bond outing. To add insult to injury there are not enough tattoos or girls either and also has some difficult Swedish words in it. However my fastest time to finsh the book was 1 hour 34 minutes (excluding toilet breaks) and 2 hours 4 minutes including. Please let me know how this compares with your personal best.”

Sadly, those are the only reviews they have by him at Amazon, but I hope he’ll be inspired to write more. I don’t know how many untimely deaths he has prevented through his sage (and apple) advice, but I feel better knowing that he is out there, praying fervently that we won’t buy something bad.


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