Hey everyone! Today I'm excited to be hosting Laurel Osterkamp's novel: Starring In The Movie Of My Life. Let me say, that this is one not to miss, it was wonderful! Now, below, I have the Blurb, Laurel's Guest Post, thank you Laurel! :) I also have my Review, and The Giveaway, yup you have the chance to win One eBook Copy of this great story, so I encourage you to enter! And if you are interested to check out the other Tour Stops Click Here!
I'll admit it: occasionally I like to pretend that my life is a movie, and that I'm the star…
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 25-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 old 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 to save ourselves.
I watch a lot of movies. I like drama, suspense, political thrillers, and comedy the best. Just recently I saw Contagion, and I had to ask myself, “What is it about watching a bunch of people die from a deadly virus that I enjoy?” It even took place in my home town of Minneapolis, which made the whole scenario seem that much more realistic.
In any movie there’s going to be conflict; without it, there’s no story. But while some movies we watch for escape – pretty people doing fairytale like actions, other movies, like Contagion, we watch so we can be horrified without being at risk ourselves. It’s the equivalent to riding a scary rollercoaster: all the thrills, minus the danger.
So I ask myself, if my life was a movie, what sort of movie would it be? It could be a gritty urban high school drama, like Dangerous Minds or Freedom Writers, because the high school where I teach has a high poverty rate, and also a lot of minority students. But I’m not nearly as inspirational as Michelle Pheiffer or Hillary Swank, and when I watch those movies I laugh cynically at how unrealistic they are.
Besides, while I have my fair share of trials and tribulations, I’m pretty lucky when it comes right down to it. I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful, healthy children, my parents are still kicking around and doing great, and there are no nasty people stalking us or threatening our livelihood. That rules out both drama and suspense. In addition, there are no ghosts, spirits, or demons inhabiting our house (that I know of), and we’ve never been visited by aliens, although my seven-year-old son still claims that he is one. Still, I think I also need to rule out horror and science-fiction.
I’m not nearly important enough to be the center of a political thriller.
And while I’m happily married, I’ve been married for ten years, and I’m no Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, or Jennifer Anniston. So I’m pretty sure my life wouldn’t qualify as a romance.
Unless I’m forgetting a genre, I believe that leaves comedy. My kids can say and do some pretty funny stuff. The same is true for my high school students. My husband has a wicked sense of humor, and I like to believe the same about me. So yeah, my life would have to be a comedy, but it wouldn’t be a slap-stick, Bridesmaids sort of a comedy. It would be more like an independent film, quietly funny, where the actors aren’t as good looking as normal, big screen stars. Think Away We Go with pregnant Maya Rudolf and John Krasinski with a beard. It’s a comedy, but it’s all about where they’re going and what they’re doing next. It makes you laugh, but there are serious moments too. Not everything is wrapped up at the end, but that’s a good thing. The soundtrack is full of artists you’ve never heard of, but maybe you’ll download it from itunes later.
In the end, that’s a lot better than having my life be like Contagion. It may not be watched as much, and there may not be all the big-name stars. But Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t die in the beginning either. And that’s saying something.
This novel was purely excellent! I really enjoyed reading it. Throughout, I was thinking how this story was going to go; I was in the middle, and found this story to be unpredictable, which I liked, because this will make you turn the pages that much faster for more. There were many things I liked in this story, and one was definitely the films, which is of course a huge part in the characters, especially in Samantha's life. I just loved how different lovable films were referenced here. It was just wonderful, how they integrated in Sam's life, and how they can be seen as either a coping mechanism or just seen for the love of it, as studying/watching film is a passion; something I can relate with. So any movie lovers out there, I think this would be a good read for you.
I think the story in general was very well written, and the characters were greatly developed. There's eighteen year old Melody who is manipulative, oh yes, very manipulative. At times I felt sorry for her, I really did, but then she does some nasty things, where I went back to disliking her. Samantha on the other side is thirty-five, and I would she say has lived and experienced more in her life, and I really liked reading her point of view. This story also includes Melody's point of view, of which I found intriguing, I must say. Osterkamp does a wonderful job distinguishing the voices, from a teenage girl to a married woman. I also found there to be realistic situations here, and how they can be relatable to others. The other characters, Nathan seems to be a genuine type of person, young, and ambitious in his career, but.... There was also Samantha's ex Collin, whom I thought was a complicated but fixable person, as he and Samantha have known each so long, but seem to still not work things out. Through helpful flashbacks, we read their rocky relationship. All in all, this was just quite wonderful, and yes, this is a novel I really Recommend!
*My Rating: 4/5
*My Audience Rating: PG-13
About The Author:
Laurel Osterkamp’s first novel, Following My Toes, (PMI Books) won the 2008 National Indie Book Award for Excellence (Chick Lit category). She drew on her on her experiences as a high school teacher and creative writing teacher as she wrote Starring in the Movie of My Life. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, son, and daughter, and is working on her third novel.