Friday, December 07, 2012

Review: Love and Other Perishable Items

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Love and Other Perishable Items
Laura Buzo
Publication date: December 11th 2012
by Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

Love is awkward, Amelia should know.

From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.

Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?

Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.

*A copy was provided by Random House of Canada for review purposes*

Previously released in Australia under the name Good Oil, Love and Other Perishable Items is one of those reads that are one hundred percent refreshing. You sit, you read, you enjoy the time you spend with it, and then you move on. Nothing profound happens, nothing even that exciting happens. Actually, nothing really happens at all other than an average year in an average teenage girl’s life. This is what initially sent me into indecision about how to rate this book after I turned the last page. I liked it, I really did. It’s short, it has fantastic characters, but it is really a story about nothing.

Some may say life is about nothing, and perhaps this is the angle Laura is going for. This story is undoubtedly realistic. We don’t always get the things we want, or end up with a happy ending–or a bad one. Sometimes, life is just life. On one hand, I read books to escape from mundane life happenings, I want sparks and excitement, a book that brings surprises and guilty pleasures, but on the other hand, I appreciate the authenticity of this book, the “true to life” factor. At any rate, I was surprisingly wrapped up in Amelia’s story. Her being such a memorable character turned this uneventful tale into something kind of wonderful. Who knew the dynamics of a supermarket crew could become so tangled?

Amelia is a girl with a crush. A crush that makes your heart flutter along with hers. But unfortunately, their age difference is a big obstacle in their path which makes it a viciously bittersweet love story. It makes you savor every moment. Amelia’s naive young mind is endearing throughout this story. Her best quality, though, is her intelligence; she’s smart and cultured, she cares deeply about things way beyond her years, like feminism. This trait creates some witty and fascinating dialogue that even supplies food for thought. These interactions were my favourite parts of this novel. What is also a pleasure is how, at first, we see everything through Amelia’s eyes, but then, we rewind and go through it all again in Chris’s perspective. You’d think this would get monotonous, but it doesn’t. Seeing how Chris perceives things differently, or getting to understand his rationalizations, gives it this extra flair to help you connect with these people and their situation even more.

This novel may as well be called “A Year in the Life of An Average Teenage Girl With a Crush, When Nothing Happens”, however I couldn’t help but find it inexplicably charming. Can a book be both uneventful and addicting? This book is a warm sunny day where you don’t have to do more than sit and relish in it.

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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24 Responses to “Review: Love and Other Perishable Items”

  1. Christina

    Actually, I rather like books about nothing. I mean, people have accused Jane Austen’s books of not being about anything and I’m like “But…but…but THE FEELS!” Haha, so I think I’ll like this one. :)

  2. Nick

    It’s interesting about the whole “nothing” thing you wrote about in your review. I had no idea that this was Good Oil. Anyways, Amelia seems like a wonderful character. Definitely going to check this one out just for the character.
    Lovely review, Giselle! :)

  3. Amy

    I am going to probably read this one this weekend. I am glad to see that even though it was about nothing, you still enjoyed it. It almost sounds quite refreshing to just read a book that is just charming and uneventful. I have read a lot of super emotional books lately so this seems like a great choice for a next book to read. Great review babe!

  4. Silverlight

    “A Year in the Life of An Average Teenage Girl With a Crush, When Nothing Happens” Love how you renamed the title for this. I’m not sure if I would read it, but it does sound like a good one that won’t have you invested into a huge plot.

  5. Michelle

    I loved this book! I don’t know why but it made me cry. I guess all that teenage rejection stuff got to me. Cool review… it is kind of about nothing, but I liked that. I was also a fan of Seinfeld too so I guess I’m into stuff about nothing :)

  6. Bonnie R

    Very interesting. I’m not quite sure I had any idea what this was actually about, I think it ended up on my TBR list just because it’s an Aussie book. :P I can’t help but think I’ll be in the same boat as you as far as opinion goes… I definitely read to escape and even though I do read the occasional contemporary and am fond of it, it’s still not my ideal read. Will check this out still but good to know what to expect. :)

  7. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    Sometimes just a realistic day in a teenagers life can be great! I have found that I do sometimes enjoy books where nothing happens lol If I really care about the characters and what they are going through. It sounds like this might work for me. I’m glad we get Chris’s perspective. I love to see different sides and how they are seeing the situation completely different.

  8. Aman

    I’m glad they changed the name, good oil sounds really weird. I really like Amelia & Chris just by reading your review. It’s going to be a good one. Great review!

  9. Jaime Lester

    It is so nice to sit down and read a book that just lets you be sometimes. No on the edge of your seat, no tears, no fears. Just a sweet read and then you are done. Sounds like that is the type of book this is. It sounds really cute, and I like cute!

  10. Candace

    Oh I sometimes love these kinds of books! Not ALWAYS but often I do! I love that we get two different sides as well. It sounds cute. And does it take place in Australia? If so, yay! I love Australian books. And people! Love those Aussie’s!

  11. Shirley

    This is the US title for Good Oil? WOW. I had NO idea! I’m actually obsessed with “uneventful” books right now…so many of the contemporary books I’ve read recently have nothing eventful happen in them, but they’re still really addictive! I guess I should grab a copy of this from my library soon :)

  12. Mel@Thedailyprophecy.

    I was sure that I would not pick this book up and your review only shows me that I’m right. This isn’t something I would like. I don’t mind reading about “nothing” if I enjoy myself, but this one sounds a bit.. too much about nothing. Great review :)

  13. Leanne Yang

    I agree with you! I read books to escape my life as well, but at the same time, I love books that are authentic. I could probably relate to this one though, being a teenage girl myself. Thanks for the great review, Giselle!

  14. Jen (A Reading Daydreamer)

    Ohh, this book sounds like a good one! It seems like it’s a bit hard to describe, like it’s too simple it’s good. At the beginning of your review, I thought that you made this book sound boring, but now I kind of see how well the characters seem to be developed. I’ll have to give this one a try! Thanks for the lovely review, Giselle!

  15. Pooja. S

    I LOVED good oil too! I remember reading this when I was sick and it totally felt like a warm sunny day and all you had to do was enjoy it! Great review, Giselle :)

  16. Amanda

    I really like your review! Like you, I do gravitate towards stories that allow me to escape from daily life and make me think about bigger things. But perhaps every once in a while it would be nice to read about normal, average lives. I think you bring up a lot of valid points about how we should consider the books we read, and also about conflicting mentalities in viewing this specific book, which I loved reading. I do think that I’d like to read Love and Other Perishable Items, but it sounds like I should be in the mood for a light, relaxing read.

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