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Sammy’s House review

February 13, 2009

When I started dreaming about writing this review, I knew I needed to get moving on it!

From the publisher: 27593503

Sammy is in the House!

“The stakes, the pressure, the perpetual potential for both extraordinary progress and crippling failure — everything was ratcheted up to a spectacular intensity, now that I worked for the president and vice president of the United States.”

In this incisive comedy, late twenty-something Sammy Joyce — hypochondriac, klutz, jumper-to-conclusions — is in the White House as a health-care advisor to the newly elected administration. All the chips seem to be falling into place: She’s living with her best friend, successfully keeping her pet Japanese fighting fish alive, and reveling in her romance with Charlie Lawton, an up-and-coming Washington Post reporter.

However, soon after taking office, the administration finds itself deep in a red-hot White House scandal. President Wye’s old problem with the bottle re-emerges. His family is creating havoc. And an informant within the administration begins leaking damaging information. On top of it all, a secret deal with an Indian pharmaceutical company for an experimental drug unleashes a fury that threatens to shake the administration to its core. While the White House braces for a fiery response within the Beltway, Sammy fights to distance herself from the turmoil that surrounds her personally and professionally. But at a time when she needs Charlie more than ever, he gets promoted and moves to New York. As the heat surrounding the Oval Office intensifies, the political climate and Sammy’s love life spiral out of control. Can she hold her ground when her relationships, ideals, and most importantly, her ability to trust are all coming apart at the seams?

In Sammy’s House, Kristin Gore brings a novelist’s eye to the inner workings of the White House, giving hilarious insight and a fresh perspective on political life.

Review and Grade: B

Sammy’s House is the sequel to Sammy’s Hill, which I read in high school when I knew I was moving to DC for college. For me, the setting adds a huge dimension to these books, because I get sucked in to look around. It’s always more interesting to read about where you live. However, that is one of the biggest selling points for me with Sammy’s House. That fact, has me a bit nervous about recommending it to others that don’t have that DC connection.

I did however, fall in love with Sammy from the beginning. This girl is basically a little bit crazy, but crazy in the way we all are underneath it all. She just doesn’t do as well as hiding it. For example, early in the book, Sammy takes a dive into the Potomac River from a party cruise when a couple of fireworks surprisingly go off which sound like gun shots. Working for the Vice President, and standing near him, she assumes they are under attack. The ridiculousness of the situation makes you laugh outloud. But however outlandish it sounds, these things happen. My freshman year, I lived a block from the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, which was doing a China exhibit, kicked off with a Chinese fireworks master. The fireworks stayed low over the Potomac, so our view was blocked by the Watergate complex, however the sound of explosions was not. My roommate heard them and went running out of the buildilng, calling her loved ones to say goodbye while screaming about an attack. She even left a voicemail for her dad saying, “I’ll always be your princess Daddy!” She attracted a few other easy panickers and they all ran close to two miles before they reached the third cop who had no idea what they were talking about (“Bombs? What bombs?” Her reply was, “Omg, even the police don’t know what’s happening!”), they stopped and walked home. These things happen.

While I loved Sammy’s quirkiness, it reaches a point that is past cute or even plausible. There is nothing I like more than a very quirky character (reason Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors), but Sammy pushes the limit. Gore also gets a little ADD herself. Early on, the random asides provide insight into the character and are useful in getting to know her, but Gore continues these asides right through the end, at which point they are downright distracting. For the last fifty pages, I just skipped those paragraphs (which did make it much better, try it if you decide to read this book).

Overall it was fun, funny and cute. I was laughing outloud by page 8 and didn’t stop until the end. It wasn’t deep or meaningful and the character development left something to be desired, but it was enjoyable. What I am going to take from this book is the fun attitude that Sammy had and her open ability to be quirky. I myself am quirky and it’s easy to cave into pressure to conform or blend in, but Sammy never did (almost to a fault). It’s something that we all should try: to be our own quirky selves and to be accepting of quirkiness in others. Life would be so much more fun that way!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2009 9:53 am

    This isn’t the sort of book I think I’d normally pick up, but your review made it sound really fun! I think I am going to look for the first one when I am at the library this afternoon 🙂

  2. Lisa permalink
    February 17, 2009 1:16 am

    I’m not familiar with DC but I still enjoyed this book. It was on the “guilty pleasure” end of the spectrum. I did think maybe Sammy is a little too quirky to be that good at her job but her relationships are fun. And Gore knows enough about what she’s talking about to make this not as light as less of an insider might have.

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