Thirty-five-year-old Samantha acts without thinking. Her heart is huge while her sense of purpose is small; she's willing to fight for those she loves, but she's never learned to fight for herself. Eighteen-year-old Melody is cold and calculating, and she's driven by the desire to better herself. As these compelling yet deeply flawed women battle for the affections of twenty-five-year-old Nathan, he becomes increasingly confused and torn between them. Nathan is Melody's English teacher, and after he saves her from being raped, she becomes attached. Melody longs for the affection she's never felt, so she involves people in her self-invented drama, making sure she is at once the star and the director. Meanwhile, Samantha is newly married to Nathan. But Samantha has hang-ups about motherhood and lingering feelings for her ex. To make sense of the world, Sam relates her life to the themes of her favorite movies, while she independently makes a documentary to jump-start her non-existent film career. Stylistically influenced by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, Starring in the Movie of my Life is told alternately from both Samantha's and Melody's points-of-view and relates two complete yet combined stories about love, acceptance, and redemption. It speaks to our universal desire to be saved by the ones we love, and the monumental effort required tosave ourselves.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 316 pages (E-book)
Source: Review Copy
Publication Date: February 1st 2011 by Preventive Measures
I don't know about you but I don't often find a adult book that tells the story of two women in alternating points of view written in the present tense because so many authors when writing for an adult audience seem to not use this style for some reason I don't get, this author utilized both of these things to her advantage.
I really enjoyed how much detail Laurel used when creating her characters, for me it was almost as though they were real people because of how she created Melody and Sam though for me I actually liked Samantha more. I thought she was more likeable to me, like the summary says Melody was cold and calculating and I just couldn't get over that fact enough to come to really like her.
The overall plot was pretty good and it did the job of keeping me entertained with the goings on in each of the women's live without getting the two confusing so that is also another point in the authors favour and I also liked the author's writing style too.
My only issues with the book were that I didn't care as much for Melody, some things like the women's actions annoyed me just like I real person with her traits would have, some of the phrases in the book were a little repetitive and I think that the book could have been about 80 pages shorter and still have had everything that had happened happen without feeling like anything was left out.
All in all this is a book I would recommend to readers who like chick-lit/women's fiction. I think it would do well as a beach read or one to read while relaxing in the comforts of your cottage.
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★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★
More than a Novel
I’m not good at committing to one favorite book or author; I’ve loved so many books and authors over the years, all for unique reasons. I guess I’m something of a book whore. However, when it comes to what influenced me while writing Starring in the Movie of My Life, one book comes immediately to mind.
I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb, is not my usual type of read. It’s a little too dark and edgy to fit my tastes. It was given to me by husband’s cousin. He used to work in publishing, so he had access to tons of free books and he strongly recommended it.
I decided to give it a whirl. Early on I wasn’t sure I would stick with it. The story was a little slow, and the characters weren’t very likeable, and it was pretty dark. Then I took my car in to be serviced and I brought it along to read.
I held it when I went to the counter to pay, and the girl who was working there commented. “Oh my God,” she said. “I Know This Much is True is one of my all-time favorite books! By the end I couldn’t put it down!”
So I’ll admit it; my reaction was a little snobby. I thought, “If the girl who works at the Saturn dealership can finish this book, I can finish this book. I do teach English, after all.”
I ccommitted to finishing it. It took a little while, but halfway through this 891 page book I was hooked, and like the girl at the Saturn dealership, towards the end I could not put it down. This was before I had kids, and I remember coming home on a Friday afternoon, sitting on the couch and reading well into the evening. Then I resumed reading Saturday morning, and I didn’t stop until the late afternoon when I was done.
I cried at the ending: partly because of the beauty of the writing. Lamb somehow managed to incorporate all the themes and meaning of his brilliant book into one final paragraph, and he ends with the title. It’s not at all forced; instead it’s organic and complete. I can say that of all the books I’ve ever read, I Know This Much is True has the most well written, satisfying ending.
I also cried when I finished it because it was over. You know that feeling when you’re dying to know what happens but you don’t want to be done? Lamb switched back and forth between sub-plots and created such marvelous suspense that every time I finished one chapter I was compelled to begin the next. Eventually these stories converged, and when they did, it was amazing.
So that’s what I attempted to do with Starring in the Movie of My Life. There are two storylines, Melody’s and Samantha’s, and I tried to end each chapter at a high point of interest, urging the reader to continue on until Melody and Samantha finally join together at the end of the book. I also chose to make redemption a major theme. Wally Lamb’s main character, Dominick, endures heartbreak and loss. He makes mistakes and becomes bitter. Yet by the end he finds redemption and closure, in a way where he can move on with his life. I wanted that for Melody and Samantha.
I’m not implying that Starring in the Movie of My Life is in any way equal to I Know This Much is True. Ultimately, these two books are very, very different, and I realize I have a lot to learn before I can even approach being the writer that Lamb is. However, if there is one book that has inspired me as a writer, one book I modeled my own book after, it is his.
I'd like to thank author Lauren Osterkamp for taking time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post on Turning The Pages today. Best of luck in your writing career!