Friday, December 07, 2012

Review: Love and Other Perishable Items

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