Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

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.

love and other

I so adored this coming of age, young adult romance book. Originally published in Australia as Good Oil, Love and Other Perishable Items has been nominated for several literary awards, including the William C.Morris YA Debut Award Nominee (2013).

The book is organized by journal entry titles. Both Amelia and Chris’ distinguished voices are heard as the point of view switches back and forth between them. Using Amelia’s journal and Chris’ purple/black notebook, readers are shown the inner thoughts of both characters over the same period of time. It becomes evident early on that smart, naïve, ‘youngster’ Amelia is hopelessly in love with older Chris. Although many teens are likely to relate to having a crush on an older guy, it was Chris that I identified with the most.

In Chris’ letter to Amelia outlining all the things he hates, I could relate and understand almost all of his points. He writes, ‘Bottom line is- I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes’. Honestly, this is something that I continue to struggle with. I work every day on counting my blessings, and trying not to compare myself to others. I could also connect with Chris’ limbo stage of being in between life stages. It was probably one of the most confusing and stressful times in my life and I am oh so happy it’s over.

Amelia’s and Chris’ refreshingly unique relationship allows for intellectual conversations on household responsibilities, feminism, and tons of English classic books like Great Expectations and the Great Gatsby (insert librarian bonus points here).

In the end, I wasn’t sure how Amelia and Chris’ story would conclude. I think the bittersweet resolution was the most realistic ending Buzo could have written. Add a dash of Australian slang, and you have one wonderful refreshing book on family dynamics and first love.

 

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