Ignore the dumb title. Overlook the bizarre, consistent misspellings of names (Brittany Spears? Ashley Simpson? Why?) and the smattering of editing flubs. I’m inclined to quit books for less – if the editor didn’t read it, why should I? – but this story’s as well-woven as it is poorly proofread.
The narrative follows two women, Samantha and Melody, connected by one man: Nathan. Melody, his student, is hot-for-teacher; Samantha, his wife, is conflicted about her job, her marriage, her life’s purpose. Osterkamp sets up the two characters for a messy collision from the start.
No impossibly glamorous jobs here, and real-life ugliness is not ignored. Melody has a selfish, abusive mother, whom she loves in spite of herself, because who else says “I love you”? Samantha has an ex-boyfriend/landlord whose drug problem was the only thing that kept her from marrying him and an unfulfilling job at a video store.
With so many threads to untangle, this is both a quick and riveting read. Characters have depth. The dialogue is natural. I read this on a plane and hardly heard the soda cart roll by; I was lost in a classroom, a video-rental store or Melody’s scheming mind, as she persuaded a classmate to help her devastate Nathan’s marriage and his professional reputation.
Uncork a bottle of 2000 Forest Glen Shiraz – smooth, chocolate-cherry flavor to contrast this bumpy ride.