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ESL Book Review: Just Like a Movie

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Just Like a Movie is an absorbing novel for adults reading at a beginning level of English.

Sue Leather, author of this book and several others, spoke at a conference I attended. She said she had a tendency to write murder mysteries; sometimes she tried to write a romance, but a corpse always found its way into the story. That tendency is clearly at work here.

I’m a handyman, like I told you. I mean, I was a handyman. I worked on houses and office buildings in Toronto. Hard work and not a lot of money. Well, one day I did some work in Rosedale, the rich area of Toronto. Really rich. I was at a house. Carrie’s house. I met her there . . .

Brad Black, the narrator, is self-centered and greedy — but he knows how to make women trust him. When he meets wealthy, lonely Carrie, he decides to marry her for her money. He figures he’ll go back to his real love, Gina, and live happily ever after, once he arranges for Carrie to have an “accident”.

Brad’s seen too many movies. He learns the hard way that life isn’t like one. Although he’s not a likeable character, and certainly not a hero, his story is compelling right up to the end.

This is very easy reading, but the themes of exploitation and murder make it a book for adults.

Just Like a Movie (2000 by Sue Leather, Cambridge University Press: English Readers, Level 1, 32 pages) is also available as an audiobook.

By Jane Wangersky

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