Publisher: Bywater Books
A straight person would not write this book. It wouldn’t occur to him or her that there was a need to write a book about a couple that meets, falls in love, and has a completely normal life that spans a long relationship. Where is the story in that? Well, Nicholas Sparks might write it, but it would be short and poignant.
Gay people don’t usually write these books either. Their books are about “hot young things” consumed with sexy encounters that may turn into relationships, and that is usually where the story ends. Sometimes they throw in a message with the story and a romance. Or they write mysteries, supernatural stories, space adventures or whatever the genre and the main characters are made lesbian or gay, but really don’t need to be. Basically, the reader is getting a straight story with gay/lesbian characters and the readers like that because they can relate to the characters. That’s fine.
Then there are exceptions like Olive Oil & White Bread. There is nothing extraordinary about Angie Righetti and Jillian Clark. One is a salesperson and the other teaches elementary art. They fall in love, buy a house, then buy another house, acquire a dog, deal with family events (happy and sad) and confront what can happen to a relationship when it’s taken for granted instead of nurtured. That is what makes the book worth reading. The reader gets to see the couple grow together and apart and back together. They deal with situations everyone faces - the death and aging of parents, the differences in families and the struggle to balance work with home. There are the crushing effects of the losses of a beloved pet and a life-long friend. In other words, these are just normal people going about their lives. And that is what makes this book important.
If you have friends, family or anyone who “just doesn’t get” what gay people are about; if they don’t understand the importance of gay marriage; if they think gay people are a threat or different or whatever, this is the book you want to give them. This is the book that will show them that gay people don’t have wild and perverse sex lives (at least not all of them), they buy houses in the suburbs, love and screw up. In other words, they’re just normal.
Georgia Beers has many strengths as a writer. She’s written outstanding romances, poignant stories based on 9-11 and won awards for her books. Olive Oil & White Bread may be her gift for the gay community to the rest of the world though. It proves there just isn’t that much difference between us.