Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Thanks to Holly I was altered to the fact that the Aussie debut, Good Oil by Laura Buzo would soon be making it's appearance in the US under the new name of Love and Other Perishable Items. I just knew it was something I had to pick up (even though frankly I was a little disappointed with the title and cover change). And just because I think the description from Goodreads is just so dang perfect, here ya go.
"Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery."

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost… head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he’s 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be a hundred. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?
I had heard from various trusted reviewers that Love and Other Perishable Items (aka Good Oil to the rest of the world) was a title not to be missed, especially for fans of the Melina Marchetta ilk. Well, I'm definitely in that category and I can safely say this Aussie debut completely stole my heart. Most notably however is utter realness and believablity of Amelia and Chris' characters. I know many readers will immediately latch onto their struggles because they are the crises of every single teenager and young adult. Amelia facing the hopelessness of a crush she knows she'll never, ever be able to be with and Chris for his inability to settle on a course for his future -- the sort of limbo most college students inevitably face. On the surface, their heartaches and trials seem minor and not at all earth shattering until you come to understand them as individuals and reader, I can tell you, that they also now mean the world to ME.

How I wish I could go back and read many of those books Amelia is trying to figure out for the first time again. Her visceral responses to many of the seeming injustices of the characters lives (like why oh why did Pip wind up with Estella?? I always hated that ending anyways) so resonated with me.

And Chris *sigh* At times I simply wanted to smack that boy upside the head for his seemingly unendless supply of cluelessness. For all his book smarts and sociable ease, he sure drove me up a wall with his never ending ineptitude on the female front. My heart ached for Amelia as she listened to his many confidences, knowing she'd never have a chance with him. That said, Laura Buzo did have a flash of brilliance when she decided to split the novel POV's in chunks between the two protagonists. Gaining insight into Chris' own heartaches consequently left me longing to simply scoop him up and lovingly point him in the right direction. And the ending? Well, the word bittersweet comes to mind and beyond that I'm not gonna say anything because you just have to pick it up for yourself.

My only complaint? That it ended too soon. I'd love another chance to catch up with Amelia and Chris -- especially in another ten or fifteen years to see how they are getting on. Sadly, no sequel seems to be on the horizon but you can bet that Love and Other Perishable Items will be a title that I'll return to in the future. It's got a voice I just won't be able to forget easily.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Book Harbinger review
Chachic's Book Nook review
Inkcrush review

book source: Netgalley


April (BooksandWine) said...

Oh, man, bittersweet?

THAT IS OKAY. I can handle that with endings. I am glad you enjoyed it though because I am looking forward to this book VERY MUCH and can't bear being disappointed.

Holly said...

So glad you liked it! I fell in love with those two and how deftly their relationship was handled. I can't wait to read more by Laura Buzo.

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Karen @ Book Light Graveyard said...

I've only heard good things about this book, and I really want to read it! Especially after all the Melina Marchetta comparisons!