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The Book of the Film of the Story of My Life    by William Brandt order for
Book of the Film of the Story of My Life
by William Brandt
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

42-year-old New Zealander Frederick Case, star of The Book of the Film of the Story of My Life, is suffering from a mid-life crisis. His production company does not have a single film, his wife has left him for her sexy co-star, and his blood-pressure is sky-high.

When an invitation to the desert island birthday party of a friend of his ex's mistakenly arrives on Frederick's doorstep, he decides he needs the vacation. Knowing that his ex is going to be there with her new boyfriend, Frederick hires a prostitute half his age to pose as his fiancée. Desperate to win his wife back, Frederick pulls out all the stops in his little masquerade, only to find that the lies he is formulating about his new relationship might very well be true.

Brandt's writing is casual and breezy, like the atmosphere of the desert island birthday party. This make for a light and entertaining read, one that's perfect for a plane ride (ideally one to a desert island en route to New Zealand). Frederick is a well-rounded sympathetic character. All readers, no matter their sex, age, or nationality, will find something in common with Frederick. Adding to the humor of the story are snippets from screenplays that Frederick is currently reviewing, along with imaginary film scenarios of how is life is playing out. I wish the novel contained more of these, as they directly tied the story line to the title of the book.

The one thing I found odd in the novel is the number of New Zealanders whom Frederick runs across in London. It seemed like every person Frederick knew was a transplant from his homeland. However, I have not met many New Zealanders in fiction, so it was fun to get a taste of their culture. The book interested me in reading more of Brandt's work, as well as other books by authors from New Zealand and Australia (although Frederick makes it quite clear that the two countries are quite distinct from each other).

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