“Do you think it’s possible that you can believe in me for a bit? How do you believe in someone who left when you were eight years old? And how was I supposed to manage the enormous chasm that existed between how he said he felt about me and what his actions said he felt about me?”
Liv thought her biggest problem was trying to find a way to tell her boyfriend that she wants to attend art school rather than follow him to Stanford. But when a vague postcard arrives from the father who walked out on her nearly ten years ago leaving her with an odd assortment of items and a comprehensive knowledge of the lost city of Atlantis, asking her to visit him in Greece things get more complicated.
Pressured by her mother to make the trip, Liv sets off for Greece, sure she is being sent on a wild goose chase to help her eccentric father on his life long quest to prove Atlantis exists. But she quickly learns that is only part of the truth…but no one will actually tell her the rest of it. She spends her two-week sojourn trying to reconcile the father she remembers with the man before her as well as trying to reconcile the person the world thinks she should be with the person she really is.
“I like to pretend I didn’t get my art from my dad, but of course I did. I don’t even remember deciding to be an artist. My dad was always drawing or painting, so I was too. I tried to quit art once, take up the flute or dance, something that didn’t remind me so much of him, but I couldn’t. I don’t have any way to see the world other than the one he left me.”
I have loved the “Love &…” books since I read Love & Gelato a couple years ago. Each one is an honest tale of a young woman coming of age on an ill begotten summer trip to a foreign country. But at the same time, their stories are completely relatable, and the books are filled with these great quotes and articulations of feelings I haven’t always been able to put into words myself. Love and Olives was no exception. (Even if I stand by my assertion that Love and Luck is my favorite of the trio).
I always find myself vacillating between rooting for the main character and begging them to get out of their own way. The literary irony allows the reader to know that everything is not exactly as simple as the main character believes, so you spend a lot of the book wondering what the catalyst will be for their “ah-ha” moment. And I have yet to be disappointed.
The whole book I felt like I was holding my breath waiting for the “why”. Why had her father left? Why was he inviting her back into his life now? It hung there through the whole story and as soon as the reveal came, there was a triumphant “I knew it!”
“It was easy to watch him through the camera lens. I didn’t have to worry so much about what had or hadn’t worked between us. I could see him as anyone else would: someone who was interested in Atlantis, not someone who had left me for Atlantis. It was a monumental difference.”
***This book fulfills my “Travel” CBR Bingo square. For obvious reasons. 🙂