Eighteen-year old student Melody and thirty-five year old Samantha have one very important thing in common – they both love the same man, Nathan Linden. Samantha is Nathan’s wife; a lovely person, but unfortunately one with a great many unresolved issues stemming from a bad relationship and being abandoned by her mother in her teens. She works in a movie rental store, but dreams of becoming a film-maker.
Melody is a student at the school where Nathan teaches. He saves her from being raped at a school dance and she attaches himself to him, determined to make him leave his wife and be with her. It seems she’ll stop at nothing to get her man.
The book started off well. I liked the two female leads and their situations, particularly Melody’s. However, as the novel went on, it seemed to lose something for me. I think this was mainly due to Samantha: she’s thirty-five but often acted far more immaturely than Melody; she’s pretty lacklustre about her film-making ambitions, and so as a reader, I was too; and as for her decision to help her friend Jane, it was made ridiculously quickly and with little logical thought by anyone involved.
I was surprised that Melody turned out to be my preferred character out of the leading ladies – I would have thought I’d have more in common with Samantha, and thus have greater empathy for her. Melody’s behaviour is pretty awful, but the author does a good job of making sure that her motives are clear and understood – such a good job in fact, that despite everything, I was still rooting for Melody at the end of the book. Melody longs for affection and for an escape from her home life; the only way she knows how to get what she wants is to follow the example of her horrible, conniving mother, even though Melody hates her mother and everything she stands for.
The quality of the writing was high and the book made easy, but consuming, reading. It definitely wasn’t the light, chick-lit experience that I was expecting – it dealt with some intense, dramatic subjects, and did so without frivolity. The characters were well developed and believable, unfortunately I just didn’t manage to ‘bond’ with Samantha. Overall I found ‘Starring in the Movie of My Life’ an interesting and thought-provoking read. Laurel Osterkamp is an author to watch.
3 and a half stars