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243 pages, Library Binding
First published January 1, 2010
After all, the pains of growing up are far from unique. They seem stereotypical for a reason - we all have been there.What Laura Buzo managed to do was capture that scary feeling of transition between stages in life and present it in a thoughtful, touching and self-deprecating way that gives the old stereotypes new unexpected freshness. What she also managed to do is give a fair spotlight to things beyond love and growing up - to things like social issues, economic constraints, and gender roles.
And yet, while you are there, caught in the moments - the years, actually - of painful transition "in no-man’s-land between the trenches of childhood and adulthood," it all feels raw and new to you, and, like any transition, riddled with uncertainty and disappointments and harsh lessons.
“You’re pretty passionate about your unhappiness, aren’t you, Chris?”Chris, "the drama queen that he is", is at a vulnerable time in life, feeling a bit lost on a brink of real adulthood, about to finish college but unsure what to do with his life, living with parents because of financial reasons, fixated on a broken relationship by drinking himself senseless and obsessively looking for the Perfect Woman (which Amelia, by the virtue of being a tenth-grader, cannot be for him, understandably - to quote Chris, "Because you are fifteen and I’m twenty-two, we have nothing in common socially and are at completely different stages in our lives."), feeling cripplingly insecure and lonely, underachieving and inadequate, and envious of those who seem to have their lives all figured out while he's stuck in limbo of Woolworths grocery store - or, as he calls it, the Land of Broken Dreams.
I looked right back at her and said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
"Bottom line is — I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes."
The aforementioned "Land of Broken Dreams", ladies and gentlemen.
Why is it that women are STILL expected to work AND do all the housework AND raise children? When did 'having it all' turn into 'doing it all' - and in such subtle little ways that few noticed it? And why do we often blame feminism for it - like Amelia does initially - before we stop to think where it's coming from? And why does it take us so long to notice who would *normally* clean the refrigerator?--------
"It was a pretty poor showing all the way through, but when I got to the bit where I was writing out the lyrics from the Dire Straits “Romeo and Juliet” song, I had to rip that out. But then, I really want to be more honest in this diary than I have been in past ones, so everything else stays in. It’s bad enough that I present such a heavily edited version of myself to my friends and family; if I start editing my diary, it will reinforce my already overwhelming tendency to be gutless. But let us never speak of it.
For the record, she really did cry when we made love and said she loved me like the stars above and would love me until she died. But, you know, people say shit in the moment."
”Bottom line is – I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes.” ~ Chris
”Oh, well. Love is pain. Or is it beauty is pain? I wouldn’t know about the latter, but the former makes my sternum ache.” ~AmeliaReading this book was like opening a long forgotten photo album, catching glimpses of the ignored past pressed in between sheets of paper. Many of the scenes could have been lifted from the adolescence and young adulthood of myself and my friends – and probably countless others - there was a closeness to my own reality here that made the intertwined stories of Amelia and Chris both laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying funny and stomach-twistingly painful.