Milly's Reviews > Good Oil

Good Oil by Laura Buzo
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The tears did it for me! I have to give it 5 stars!

Good Oil = Australian slang for useful information, the truth, a good idea. Courtesy of the http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian.... I have to thank my Booker friend Arlene, who shared this very helpful website to get me through the slang in this book, which were numerous IMO. But that just adds to the authenticity of this book, which I enjoyed and appreciated!

Now, let us see if I have any Good Oil to give.

This book might just appear to be another coming-of-age book and young adult romance at first glance but it's so much more especially when we read about the subtle and secondary themes of feminism and how that affects the dynamics of Australian families (which was surprising to me), the pressures of a twenty-something guy to make a living and make something out of himself when his chosen major is not as lucrative if he chose to be an engineer or an accountant. Just tidbits about life as a teenager, a young adult, or a parent in Australia was so interesting and introspective. I especially love the parts of the book where both our protagonists become vulnerable and open up to their Moms. Both so powerful and heart strings yankers that I couldn't stop the tears from falling! But that's what I love about this book. It comes off being understated when it truly is a powerful book once it takes a hold of you. But then again, my introspection of any book I read is sometimes over the top so what I saw and felt in this book might be different from someone else's.

Our female protagonist is Amelia, who just turned 15 and just started working at Woolworth's, a grocery or a supermarket in Australia. There she meets her love interest, Chris, who's 21 and her trainer. Chris takes her under his wing and gives her the 'good oil'. Amelia of course falls in love head over heels with Chris. And who wouldn't at that age when someone older like him gives you his time and attention and shares his perspective on life and such. Amelia's never been in love or has never been in a relationship with a boy so this is all new to her. Chris becomes her sun and everything about her revolves around him. That's first love...and we've all gone through that so we know how it is to be like Amelia.

So, Chris, our male protagonist, doesn't really notice Amelia's feelings for him because he's still getting over an old flame and is heavily pondering of what he should do with his life. He feels like his life's in a rut and he's in need of a change but just doesn't know how he could affect that change. Chris is not your typical male protagonist. He's flawed, an alcoholic, and weak most of the time. He's Pip I think (from Great Expectations) living in an illusion that someday he'll be with that old flame of his again and needs to find a way out of that. Sometimes I wished he could just move forward, to stop wallowing and just get a move on with his life. He's not the typical protag you swoon about but you're still attracted to him somehow because he is vulnerable and he does care, perhaps too much that's why he's in such a predicament. I thought it was quite endearing the way he cared and looked after Amelia and how he tried to protect her. But is this love or brotherly love? We learn about Chris in this book through his perspectives in his journal entries and of Amelia's accounts of him.

The book makes a lot of references to Great Expectations and the Great Gatsby as well as other English classics and contemporaries that I found very enlightening since I haven't read any of them but was compelled to do so after reading Good Oil.

There's definitely themes in this book that I could relate to. The themes of feminism for one. I grew up in a patriarchal family where my mother did everything. She worked and still took care of us and the household where in my father just worked and came home waiting for his meal. That's the Filipino culture for you and I disliked it. I vowed that when I got married that I would not marry a man who's raised in this type of culture! I just don't agree with it and I would never live it if I have any say in it. My parents are senior citizens now and my mother still answers to my Dad's beck and call! It still drives me nuts to this day! I was actually surprised that the Aussie families are similar. But is Amelia's family the norm or are they an exception to the rule?

But what tore me up the most in Good Oil were the revelations by Amelia's and Chris' feelings over each other. Could a 15-year old and a 21-year old could really be a couple? Could this really work or were they just asking for heartbreak and heartaches? Be romantic or be realistic? I know I was delusional when I was 15 and I swooned over my older brother's friends, who were 5 years older than I was. They thought me cute...but cute to be a little sister no less! So when Amelia said those 3-words, the only thing going through my mind was..."Oh no you didn't!" But, we've all been 15 and we've all had our first loves. Mine broke my heart and I would always remember. Now I laugh to myself when I see him...balding and unhappy. I know, I know it's mean. So sue me! Revenge is sweet indeed! Hahaha! But...I digress.

I wept and I couldn't stop. My heart was breaking.

Good Oil made me cry without trying. I wept and I hoped. Now I want a darn sequel!!!

I have to thank my special friend, Arlene, for sharing her wonderful book to me!
I have to thank my Booker friends for such an awesome recommendation! Bring in the Good Oil!

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Reading Progress

06/05/2011 "thanks for lending me the book, Arlene! So far so good!" 4 comments
06/08/2011 "I think I might need an Aussie dictionary of slang words. :)" 3 comments
06/11/2011 "I would really like a sequel! This can't be over yet! I don't want to write my own ending!" 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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~Tina~ <3!


message 2: by KOMET (new)

KOMET Sounds like a true page-turner, Milly.


Milly KOMET wrote: "Sounds like a true page-turner, Milly."

not in a profound way that you're used to. It's just one I really enjoyed reading and sinking my teeth into.


~Tina~ Loved this book! So glad you did as well:)


message 5: by Nic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nic Awesome review Milly.


Milly Thanks Nic! Such an amazing book! Another great Aussie reads!


message 7: by Nomes (last edited Jun 19, 2011 02:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nomes i love this review milly. i am SO glad you loved the book as well as me :) it is a quieter book at first glance but i completely fell in love with it :D

i could relate to a lot of it as well ~ especially Chris


message 8: by Morgan (new)

Morgan F Awesome review, Milly!


message 9: by Nalnac (new) - added it

Nalnac Great review hon! Now I want to read it so bad!!..


Milly Nanalla wrote: "Great review hon! Now I want to read it so bad!!.."

Thanks Nanalla! Do you have the book out there?


message 11: by Nalnac (new) - added it

Nalnac Unfortunately no. (Amazon.it doesn't even have it). All these beautiful australian authors..*cries* ..I hate to love reading in English and having very hard time finding what I want to read. :(


Arlene Wow, what an awesome review Milly! And, thank you for the shout. We actually have Albie to thank for sending me this great book from NZ. :D


Milly Arlene wrote: "Wow, what an awesome review Milly! And, thank you for the shout. We actually have Albie to thank for sending me this great book from NZ. :D"

Thanks Arlene! I'm still working on review-writing..seems like I'm getting better at it.

Albie, thanks my friend from NZ! It was such a wonderful book!

So, Arlene, are you officially back from vacationing? I just sent this book in the mail btw!


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