“Love and Other Perishable Items” by Laura Buzo
Life after college can stretch before a person like a long, seemingly endless road. Marriage, family, retirement can seem so far away that it can render many soon-to-be college graduates inert. This is what paralyzes Chris as he ponders life, feminism and film while working at the local grocery store he has dubbed “The Land of Dreams.” Chris finds a companionable soul in Amelia.
Ahh, but, here’s the rub, Chris is 21, Amelia is 15. Amelia falls for Chris and is happy to keep her feelings to herself, but we the readers get both points of view. Amelia’s is delivered in a voice filled with honest and straightforwardness while Chris’ is from his journal entries that range from rage to depression to finding the perfect woman to deep insight into his life and what he wants to do with it.
Amelia meets Chris as her trainer on her first day at work. She sees a connection between the two of them by way of their mutual love of literature. He sees her as a youngster, a nickname that she comes to dislike. Chris is slowly, painfully and sometimes regressively getting over his ex-girlfriend who uses his feelings and failure to move on to her advantage.
Buzo adequately captures the voice and feelings of a 15 year old girl who is practical, realistic and smart and lives a structured life. Buzo also captures that time of life when the future can be overwhelming and uncertain. Readers will be able to relate to both characters and the feelings that they express throughout the book. The book’s mood is quiet and thoughtful. Each character struggles with their feelings for each other with the reader really rooting for the both of them. But…hello?? She’s 15. You’ll have to read Love and Other Perishable Items to find out if they get together or not.
What I liked about this book was the relationship between Chris and Amelia. I really wanted to root for them as a couple despite the difference in age. They seemed to fit each other and “get” each other. I liked that Chris acts on his varying and quickly changing moods and emotions becoming a physical whirlwind while Amelia is calm, practical and steady as she goes. There were good and bad decisions made by both characters throughout the book and I found that reassuring. This book captures the turmoil at 15 and 21 which are rife with decisions made with too little information or too little experience. Recommended for High School and up.