Title: Love and Other Perishable Items
Author: Laura Buzo
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
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?
*CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS*
I really, really wanted to like this book. I was so excited about it when I first read the summary, and I thought it would be cool and unique. I guess it was a little different, but it wasn’t what I had been expecting or hoping it would be. I thought from the summary that Amelia and Chris would actually try their relationship out, and that would be what the book was about, but it was basically about Amelia hopelessly mooning over Chris and Chris hopelessly mooning over Kathy, Michaela, and…well, a lot of girls, really. I just really wanted the book to be about something other than what it was, and that has probably affected my opinion of it a bit.
In addition to the plot disappointment, I was also disappointed that I didn’t feel connected to either of the narrators. I think Amelia was too young for me and seemed young even for fifteen, but then again, I was kind of a weird fifteen-year-old, so I don’t know what’s normal-seeming. I liked that she talked about books a lot, and could certainly see the connection between Great Expectations and her own life, but sometimes when she spoke, she didn’t come off as all that smart to me. I may also be judging her a little harshly because of her ridiculous comment about feminism ruining her mother’s life (thank God Chris tried to school her on that. There’s one point for him). Who knows.
I didn’t care for Chris very much either. He was kind of whiny and didn’t treat women all that nicely. From Amelia’s perspective, I could understand why she was into him, but from my own, I didn’t like him. He spends too much time wallowing over Michaela, who didn’t sound that special to begin with, then he has sex with girls he doesn’t care about, kisses Amelia, hurts her, and then moves to Japan. I also wasn’t sold on his moving to Japan thing, because there wasn’t really an explanation for why he did it, unless I missed it.
I also didn’t really like the dual-perspectives thing. I’m not really sure why we needed Chris’s perspective. It kind of annoyed me that we would go through a few months with Amelia, then rewind and do the same thing with Chris. I think it would have worked better if they were actually dating, or if he was thinking about her more than he was, but as it stands, I didn’t think the dual perspectives accomplished much.
The thing that kept this book from being a 2 for me was the humor in it and the discussions of literature. Buzo does do a good job at creating snappy dialogue, and I liked listening to (okay, reading) Amelia’s passionate conversations about books, because that is definitely something I can relate to. I think Laura Buzo has potential to be a funny, engaging writer, but Love and Other Perishable Items just didn’t do it for me.