Plot –> I would first like to thank Laurel Osterkamp for sending me a paperback copy of STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE in exchange for a fair and honest review.
If you are a fan of women’s fiction from authors such as: Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Elizabeth Berg, et al and want to break from dark stories featuring vampires, werewolves and other things that go bump in the night, then I highly recommend STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE by Laurel Osterkamp!
The book is told from two different viewpoints: Samantha “Sam”, a 35-year-old who is has recently married Nathan “Nate”, a 25-year-old high school teacher, and Melody, a 18-year-old high school senior. Sam loves her husband but doesn’t feel confident enough with herself or in her marriage to trust Nate around the young girls at school. However, Nate hasn’t shown any signs that he’s interested in the girls he teaches. He loves being a teacher and he loves his wife.
But deep down, Sam wonders if her feelings really have to do with how she has never gotten over Collin, her first love, who she met in college and now happens to also be her landlord. Talk about awkward! If Sam isn’t worrying about her marriage or her life, she’s trying to help her best friend, Jane, who is adopting a baby. Jane needs her support.
On the other end of the spectrum is Melody. At the beginning of the novel, Melody is attending the prom with her high school crush, Axel. She can’t believe he asked her out and she’s thrilled. But when Axel attacks her outside one of the bathrooms, Nate who is at school steps in and helps her.
Melody feels Nate is her knight in shining armor and becomes quickly infatuated with her teacher. But Melody’s manipulative actions and her yearning for affection start hurting her more than helping. This causes more strain between Sam and Nate…something none of them need.
World –> The world of the novel is realistic and believable. I could easily picture the school, all of the character’s homes, and places where they work or meet up. I felt heartache in all the right places, especially Melody’s home life with her mother. I would definitely not want to live there. It was easy to understand why Melody wants desperately to escape.
Characters –> Samantha wants more from life than just working at a local movie rental store. She is kind, sweet, and a romantic. She loves the movies. Everything she does she relates to a movie or television – whether it’s the first time Nate calls to rent a movie (Casablanca) or feeling that her life is so mundane that she wishes it were epic like Dawson’s Creek. Ha! As a movie and television fan, I loved the references! In fact, Sam sees her life as a movie. I can definitely relate. Sam feels that she can find whatever it is she’s searching for through her relationships with Nate and Collin, but that isn’t the case. She needs to find what she’s looking for within herself.
The same goes for Melody who is manipulative, cold and calculating. She thinks she can have whatever she wants by people falling for her good looks and charm. I chalked this up to her depressing home life with her single mother who doesn’t give a damn about her and bosses her around constantly. Melody definitely wants a new life, too. She thinks if she can get Nate to fall in love with her then she can leave her crappy world behind. She even tries to control her best friend, Kelsey. But there’s pain in Melody’s life that she’s trying to fill by turning her infatuation with Nate into something that she’s only imagining in her head.
Nate is kind and caring. He wants what’s best for Sam and will do anything to pull their marriage together. He’s also on to Melody, but falls easily into her trap because he’s so good-hearted. He’s symbolic to the story as a means for both women yearning for something different. Collin also comes into the picture and we learn more about his relationship with Sam. I enjoyed the other side characters, as well.
Writing –> There’s a lot that happens in the story and Osterkamp does a great job with plotting and pacing. STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE features some interesting twists — that I never saw coming — and revealing information about the characters through flashbacks. The story is emotional and intense. There is some trying moments for all the characters. I was glad after everything they go through, STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE ends on a happy note.
I can certainly see why STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE is a 2011 International Book Award (Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Literature) and 2011 Indie Excellence Award Finalist. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Laurel Osterkamp!
Cover –> The cover I have on my book shows an auditorium at a school with a stage and a screen above it. It’s a nice, simple cover. However, I really like the new cover of the book. I think it fits the book much better and feels more like women’s fiction! The colors are pretty and I love the film strip with the female eye.
I’m giving STARRING IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE 4 “Retro Typewriters” for being solid writing, characters and world!
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