“Slipping on Stardust” by Gordon Osmond is a story about a small town in Ohio. A once-famous B-movie actor gets a job starring in the local production of “Little Sheba”, cast alongside the town’s self-proclaimed diva. She is a woman who has always longed to get out of this small town and find her own glory on the big screen, but her ambition is trapped by her marriage to the local lawyer, who is successful enough to pay for her high maintenance life style. Their son and his friends, and the husband’s law partners fill out the cast.
When I accepted a Kindle version for review purposes, I was told that it was a two-flame romance. It’s not. Romance is a story about two people who have to overcome a problem in order to fall in love. This story has a large cast of characters, all of whom are either married or dating someone already. I’m not sure what genre the book falls into. If it was a television show, it would be a British soap opera. The term “contemporary Shakespere” comes the closest to defining its tragic nature. It’s not a story about love so much as failure, broken dreams and bad marriages. It highlights several types of stereotyping going on in our culture today; towards gays, blondes, and straight men who prefer typically female activities like dance and cooking, but without offering any solution to those situations.
Two flames is also the wrong category for this work. It contains some clean sex scenes, a little bit of foul language, and a pro-gay platform, but it doesn’t even start to simmer due to a lack of engagement.
Engagement is when the reader feels drawn into the story. Since the entire story is about acting, perhaps the best way to explain this is to compare this book to a television show. “Murder She Wrote” and “NCIS” are engaging because it is filmed on a street or in an actual house. It makes you feel like you’re standing next to the characters listening to what they say. It’s believable because the actors walk and wave their hands in a natural way. The writing style of this book is more like the British murder mysteries that are aired on PBS. They are filmed on a very small set, where the actors deliver their lines and tell the viewer what happened. It also reminds me of “Hot in Cleveland”, another show that is filmed on a set, is acted instead of portrayed, and features a large cast of people who are not typical Buckeyes.
The author has experience writing screen plays, and it shows in his writing style. The book makes you feel like you’re watching a local production of an off-off-Broadway play. It makes reference to a lot of classic movies such as “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and “Streetcar Named Desire.” A movie buff, or a local theater buff might enjoy the book for that reason.
The main rule of engagement is “show, don’t tell.” Telling is a fault in most stories when the author lapses into it from time to time. This author, however, tells the story with such consistency that it seems to be a style of its own. It left me feeling like I’d set down to tea with Prince Charles, while he told me about what happened at a party I wasn’t invited to. (to the point where I was surprised to find out that Gordon Osmond is an American.) Other than that, it was well-paced, adequately foreshadowed, and interesting.