Tuesday 19 July 2011

Review: Good Oil by Laura Buzo

The Story:
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 six-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. 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? - From the book jacket.

My Thoughts:
I was really looking forward to reading Good Oil. Ever since I read about Chris from a post by Abbey's Bookshelf and couldn't get over how sweet he sounded. Plus I think I've had a bit of a fantasy/dystopian overload lately and wanted a nice, easy, feel good read. I hadn't planned on being made to think so much or getting so attached to both Amelia and Chris and for wishing that there was a sequel.
           First off, Good Oil is written by an Australian. I know I've said this a heap of times before but I am really feeling the love for Aussie authors at the moment. There's just something in the way they write that's  raw and seems to cut through to the core of a story. The pacing of Good Oil is fantastic. There's no step by step telling of what Amelia puts on when she wakes up and what time she brushes her teeth. The whole book has a purpose that isn't just to fill up the page requirements. Having said that, there is enough detail in every scene to really give the reader a sense of what the characters are feeling and their motivations for their actions. I didn't realise that Good Oil would be from both Amelia and Chris' points of view and at first it threw me because I wanted to keep being in Amelia's perspective but once I started reading about Chris, there was no going back.
          I love Amelia. Does she remind me of myself when I was 15? Yes! Who among us hasn't had an awkward crush on a boy who was too old for us? Sure mine were from the then popular boy bands, but that's really beside the point. Amelia is smart and thoughtful and though she has her own set of niggling self doubts, she is also strong enough in herself not to cave and join the 'popular' group to simply fit in. Her steadfast feelings for Chris no matter how impossible the chances of them getting together really endeared her to me. Amelia doesn't do sweet talking, nor does she feign interest in people she doesn't care for. It's a trait more characters should have.
         As I've said above, I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to be able to see things from Chris' point of view. It was difficult for me at times to reconcile the person he truly was with the ideal that Amelia saw him as. I spent the whole time thinking he needed to get over What's-her-face and see the girl in front of him who adored him. The more I read, the more I warmed to Chris and realised what a beautiful soul he truly was. Chris definitely had his problems, but in essence he was a kind and considerate person and I wanted to hug him every time he called Amelia 'youngster' as if it was a reminder to himself that he shouldn't go there.
         Good Oil is more than a novel about young romance. It's a story of first love, growing up, feminism and sometimes the cold, harsh reality of things. There's a fair bit of drinking, swearing and the occasional sex scene in Good Oil so those who are offended by these things need not apply. Those who are looking for a novel that's real and warm...well, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.


* I read this book as part of my 2011 Aussie Authors Challenge


  1. okay - i want to read it! Is there an ecopy on amazon i can buy? But wait, i need to know...IS THERE A HAPPY ENDING?! I dont want to read it if they are tragic forever parted lovers. Looking for feel-good happy book. ( not enough of those around)

  2. I am really interested in reading this book. I actually met my husband (who is 6 years older than me) when I was 16 so I can probably relate with Amelia a little bit! I agree with you, I really could use a change and read a light, feel-good sort of book. Great review!

  3. Lani: I just checked and there are ecopies of this book on Amazon and as for the ending *SPOILER ALERT* *LOOK AWAY NOW!* The ending is...hopeful...but not exactly fairytale. But having thought about it a lot, I don't think it could have worked out any other way.

  4. Bonnie: At first I was a bit skeptical about the 6 year gap between Amelia and Chris but I forgot about that once I started reading because Amelia is so grown up for her age and Chris is, like most men, pretty juvenile! You will love it.

  5. Great review! I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds good! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Hi Lani - thanks for checking the ebook availability. Im off to get me a copy. Its funny how a 6yr age gap is such a HUGE deal when people are teenagers but in the big bad world of grownups, its nothing. My husband is 3 yrs older than me and when we first started dating, the age 'gap' was a massive cause of contention with my parents - and he did seem like such an 'older man' lol. Now? ha, it means nothing.

  7. Wow, I hadn't heard of this one before, but it sounds great! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  8. Christy & Ashley: You have to read this book. It's just so good.

    Lani: My husband is 5 years older than I am but I was 17 when we met and seriously, I have always been a lot more mature than he is! The age thing is superfluous in time.

  9. I am totally jealous. I have been desperate to read this book for months and I haven't been able to find it anywhere. :(

  10. Alex, there is a copy available on kindle by Amazon. Am thinking of also hosting a giveaway when I reach 150 followers and when my technophobic mind figures out how to add a comp entry form onto my blog :)


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