“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.”

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; she’s a lovely person, but has a lot of hang-ups from her mother leaving her and her father whilst she was in her teens and from a previous relationship which she never really got over. She works in a movie rental store, but dreams of being 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 a lot of this was to do with Samantha: she was thirty five but acted far more immaturely than Melody a lot of the time. Her ambition to be a film maker is something that she’s pretty lacklustre about and so I, as a reader was too.

Also her decision to help her friend Jane is 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 two leads. I would naturally have thought that I’d have more in common and thus empathise more with Samantha. 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 thought 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