Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sammy's Hill Chick-Lit with a Brain

Samantha "Sammy" Joyce has it all - her own apartment, a loyal pet fish and a respectable job on Capitol Hill. Okay, so she lacks poise and confidence - especially when it comes to interactions with the opposite sex - but she has a darn good life, altogether. She loves working for Robert Gary, junior senator from Ohio and bona fide man of the people. As an analyst, Sammy is a minion, but she feels "like I had a chance to make a positive difference in the world every day." (3) She is so happy with her job, in fact, that she feels guilty when gorgeous Aaron Driver comes on the scene. Aaron works as a speechwriter for Senior Senator John Bramen, a man Sammy classifies as "a jerk by most accounts, but a very successful one." (30) Bramen is, in fact, working exhaustively to win a nomination for the Presidency. Aaron admires his scheming, self-absorbed boss, a fact Sammy is willing to put aside for the moment...at least until she and Aaron are happily married. Surely, she can win him over from the Dark Side after that. When the Gary and Bramen teams form a tentative alliance, Sammy's friends and co-workers warn her not to trust anyone on Bramen's staff. Sammy refuses to listen, insisting that unlike Bramen and the rest of his staff, Aaron can be trusted. As the relationship progresses, however, Sammy begins to have her own doubts. Unfortunately, she can't fully examine them because work is keeping her busier than ever. She's already got a mountain of problems to contend with: An anonymous source from Bramen's camp has been bad-mouthing Gary's people; a reporter is hounding her about a Blackberry message accidentally sent to the wrong people; and Aaron is getting more and more distant. When an unpleasant surprise forces Sammy to see Aaron in a whole new light, her problems go from bad to worse. As she makes herself pick up the pieces of her shattered life, she must face the tough questions: Can she keep up with her increasingly important, but completely overwhelming, job? And will she ever find a man she can trust or is she destined to spend her life alone?

Kristin Gore (yep, she's Al Gore's daughter) tells Sammy's story with just the right amount of wit in her debut novel, Sammy's Hill. Her style is readable and often laugh-out-loud funny. Its setting makes the book a little meatier than your average chick-lit fare (although I'm so politically unaware that any book on the subject seems brainy). Seriously, though, I liked the political bent and thought it added an interesting dimension to the story. I also came to like Sammy Joyce, although I found her character so weird at first that I considered ditching Sammy's Hill completely. By the end of the first chapter, I decided to accept her with all of her neuroses and simply enjoy reading about her crazy, improbable life. She's kind of a female version of Dr. Dorian (Zach Braff's character) on the tv show Scrubs - loveable, but prone to bizarre daydreams and odd trains of thought. Her weird compulsions actually lessen toward the end of the story, which apparently prove her maturation as a character.

The book is really a lot of fun, although somewhat predictable. I have to say, though, that the happy ending seemed fitting and right. I also thought that Gore tried so hard to create a unique, but loveable heroine that she went way over the top, making Sammy Joyce just a little bit too crazy to be real. After all, who would seriously keep a sling around the house so she could practice performing household tasks just in case one of her arms happened to be swallowed by a lion? Like I said, she's a little nuts.

For those of you looking for a "clean read," I'm not sure what to say about this one. It does have love scenes, but they are really not graphic at all. There is plenty of innuendo, and plenty of outright sexual references, although they would probably only garner a PG-13 rating if Sammy's Hill was turned into a movie. As for profanity, there's a little, but not much (the F-word is used once). All in all, it's not that bad, so you'll have to use your own judgment. Despite these flaws, I enjoyed the story immensely.

1 comment:

  1. I have this book and now want to edge it to the top of my TBR pile!

    ReplyDelete

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