What happens to lovers after the happy-ever-after moment? What goes on behind the closed doors of a relationship once the commitment is made? What does romance turn into when the hands of time keep turning? Olive Oil and White Bread is a novel that dares to answer those questions.
Angie Righetti is the daughter of a sprawling but close-knit Italian American family. She’s out and they’re proud.
Jillian Clark’s family is the white bread to Angie’s olive oil. Stoic and emotionally buttoned up, they don’t want to think about Jillian’s sexuality.
It’s 1988 when they move in together, on the brink of starting their careers. Like every couple at the start of their life together, they expect to live happily ever after.
And for twenty-three years life happens: they change jobs, buy a house, get a dog, and deal with money issues and the death of a parent. They fight, love, cry, play, make mistakes, have regrets, and try to be good to each other and to everybody else. Like most of us they tumble into a routine that turns into a rut that leads to distraction and danger.
This is a tale of two woman’s lifetime relationship, the ups and downs, struggles and compromises.
As always Ms Beers books are elegantly written, carefully plotted and charmingly constructed. Her language and editing exemplary.
Our main characters are normal, wholesome, ordinary women with altogether real personalities. They are warm, honest and flawed, just as we all are.
They are surrounded by a realistic cast of family, friends and co-workers. They fight normal battles, make normal mistakes and attempt to maintain closeness and sustain their relationship through the minutia of daily life. They drift, come together, fluctuating in their intensity, intimacy and togetherness.
And I guess for me that is the problem. There is no passion. Jillian and Angie are nice women we will all recognise. We may know them. We may be them. This is a simple story of a twenty year life together, and as such it just didn’t grab me.
If Ms Beers aim was to draw simply that, an exploration of the gentle ups and downs, stresses and angsts of totally normal lives, then this is perfect. But while I liked them, understood them, recognised them.. Jillian and Angie didn’t engage me. I pick up a book to lose myself in it, the adventure of love and life, the charisma and passion of the players. This book was too much like reality , like day to day living, it was simply a life too ordinary to catch my attention.
(publisher review copy received)