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Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura…
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Love and Other Perishable Items

by Laura Buzo

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1601874,566 (3.67)6
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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
When Love and Other Perishable Items came out, there were a lot of reviews that said they really didn’t get the point of it, since it’s not got much of a plot. It was very character-driven, they said. Of course, this made me want the book, even if many others were seriously whelmed by its contents. It was one of those times where reviews that actually weren’t highly positive totally reeled me in and convinced me it might be a book for me. Plus, I’ve heard so much about Aussie YA and Melina Marchetta totally panned out, so why not Laura Buzo? And yet. Here I am, a bit surprised not to have loved this one.

Love and Other Perishable Items does a lot well. There are two POVs and they’re very distinct. Amelia and Chris do not sound remotely similar and I think she effectively set up their timelines. They’re talking about the same things, but their views of them are so different. I would always look forward to seeing things from Chris’ side, after seeing Amelia’s interpretations.

Amelia, fifteen and seriously infatuated for the very first time, suffers from a pretty standard teenage problem: insecurity. Her lack of self-worth is exacerbated by her parents’ inattention. They’re present, but lost in their own worlds. Amelia thinks of herself one way, but through Chris’ eyes it’s obvious that her view of herself is flawed. It’s a reminder that what we see isn’t necessarily what others see looking at us, a very important lesson in life.

What I think I liked best in Love and Other Perishable Items was watching Amelia learn through fiction. She’s reading book primarily for school but she really takes the time to think about what they say and to try to apply their lessons to her own life. I wish I could say that I thought that much about everything I read as a teen. This, too, is how Amelia bonds with Chris, her crush. He’s in college, 22, and he enjoys talking with the intellectually curious youngster who works with him at the grocery store. In these moments, I was able to take Amelia’s crush seriously and to see where the two might really get along. It’s also the only time I found Chris likable.

That said, the romance in the book did not work for me, such as it is. Chris annoyed me to no end. He’s constantly whinging about the manic pixie dream girl of his past, a girl he failed to understand and who treated him like shit but whom he continues to feel is the one for him. Meanwhile, he seeks out the “perfect girl” even though he already met his perfect girl and she dumped him hard. I’m a fan of drinking, sure, but Chris worries me. He drinks like he wants to die. Plus, he does other drugs and makes just terrible life choices all around.

The ending has me side-eyeing this book. I feel like it all ties into the discussion of Great Expectations that Chris and Amelia have. Let’s just say I’m skeptical like Amelia about things. On a side-note, the discussions of feminism in this book are really interesting. It’s all about the different ways people have defined it and misinterpretations. Amelia actually hates feminism because she doesn’t really get what it is. Nothing’s really settled with regards to that, but I think it’s a book to make people think if they’ve never really considered those issues.

Did I like Love and Other Perishable Items? Well, kind of. I’d say it’s a good book and I liked it more than I didn’t, but it also never really coalesced for me. Authentic though their voices are, neither Amelia nor Chris really leapt off the page and felt real to me the way the best characters do. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Aug 21, 2014 |
Amelia, a typically awkward and self-conscious 15-year-old, falls helplessly in love with her grocery-store-coworker, Chris--charismatic, gorgeous and, unfortunately, 21. Told from both Amelia's and Chris's viewpoints, "Love and Other Perishable Items" is a brutally honest and heartwarming tale of how a helpless and hapless crush can consume a person's life, for better or worse. Definitely a great read for anyone who has fallen for the ultimately unattainable guy or gal. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Feb 18, 2014 |
4.5 stars

This book is about two things: a teenage crush and becoming a “grown-up.” Unfortunately, these subjects are never distant from clichés and they are often presented in a shallow, stereotypical way. In Love and Other Perishable Items, however, Buzo writes about these two universal experiences with exceptional depth and feeling.

Buzo somehow manages to weave together two disparate realms of experience: the high school feeling when you suddenly become giddily aware of the complexity of the world around you, making you feel more “adult,” as evinced in Amelia, our 15 year old protagonist, and the early 20s feeling of uncertainty as you become an unequivocal adult with legitimate responsibilities, a period captured through the struggles of Chris, a college senior who serves as the second POV character in this novel. So whether you’re on the younger or older side of Young Adult, there are ideas here for any reader to attach onto, ideas that will recall the reader’s own personal experience. As a result, both characters, though deeply flawed, are loveable, because it is difficult not to project our own tribulations of adolescence and early adulthood upon them. To me, this personability of the characters, this ability to see ourselves in them, is one of the novel’s greatest strengths.

An equally strong point is the novel’s focus on social justice. I read that author Laura Buzo works as a social worker in addition to writing, and her career experience clearly shines through the novel. I was enraptured by Chris and Amelia’s intelligent (but never pretentious!) discussions about the role of feminism in the 21st century, the unsatisfying conclusions to classic novels such as The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations, and the failure to recognize conditions of poverty in our own backyards. At its core, Love and Other Perishable Items is a book about romance, but it is much more smart and thoughtful than typical romantic fare yet it manages to maintain a (mostly) lighthearted tone. It’s totally approachable for all readers; some will adore the love story, others will enjoy the realistic depiction of these distinctly tumultuous life stages, and others will appreciate the sociological criticism within these pages.

Of course, I loved Love and Perishable Items for all of these reasons, as I expect most readers will. Highly recommended for anyone desiring a bit of young adult nostalgia in the form of a book that is both melancholy and hopeful.
( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
This book had its moments. It was good, but in the end rather un-impressionable and somewhat forgettable.
It’s about the Amelia, who’s just turned 16 and has fallen in love with an older boy she works with, Chris. The thing is, it will never work between them. Chris knows this, and Amelia knows this, but part of her still holds out hope. And part of him is sort of interested.
I think what appealed to me most about this book was the fact that the author was able to capture that part in a young girl’s life with such realistic accuracy. Falling for the older guy, knowing nothing’s going to come from it, but holding out hope for it anyway.
It’s told from two different points of view, Amelia’s and Chris’, so we get both sides of a situation and what’s going on inside their heads. In the end, you cheer for, somehow--beyond all socially accepted and legal odds--that they would find a way to be together. But that’s not realistic. The ending that the author came up with, is.
Happy reading, my friends! ( )
  RaeLynn_Fry | May 20, 2013 |
Just brilliant. I loved the story, the alternating POV chapters between Amelia and Chris, also the Australian vernacular. Boy, kids grow up quick! I recall many of the same feelings when I was that age. ( )
  vsnunez | May 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375870008, Hardcover)

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, 15, 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:55 -0400)

A fifteen-year-old Australian girl gets her first job and first crush on her unattainable university-aged coworker, as both search for meaning in their lives.

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