This book has all the elements of a perfect (for me) read — great writing, an addicting storyline, and well-developed characters. The best coming-of-age tale I've read in a long time. Messy, a little dark, but ultimately hopeful. I really loved this one. Recommended By Carrie K., Powells.com
Allegra Goodman follows Sam from girlhood to adulthood, taking the reader on a journey that would seem incredible, if it didn’t seem so incredibly true. This book is a marvel of skilled writing and unparalleled empathy. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
What happens to a girl's sense of joy and belonging — to her belief in herself — as she becomes a woman? This unforgettable portrait of coming-of-age offers subtle yet powerful reflections on class, parenthood, addiction, lust, and the irrepressible power of dreams.
"There is a girl, and her name is Sam." So begins Allegra Goodman's moving and wise new novel.
Sam is seven years old and living in Beverley, Massachusetts. She adores her father, though he isn't around much. Her mother struggles to make ends meet, and never fails to remind Sam that if she studies hard and acts responsibly, adulthood will be easier — more secure and comfortable. But comfort and security are of little interest to Sam. She doesn't fit in at school, where the other girls have the right shade of blue jeans and don't question the rules. She doesn't care about jeans or rules. All she wants to climb. Hanging from the highest limbs of the tallest trees, scaling the side of a building, Sam feels free.
As a teenager, Sam begins to doubt herself. She yearns to be noticed, even as she wants to disappear. When her climbing coach takes an interest in her, his attention is more complicated than she anticipated. She resents her father's erratic behavior, but she grieves after he's gone. And she resists her mother's attempts to plan for her future, even as that future draws closer.
The simplicity of this tender, emotionally honest novel is what makes it so powerful. Sam by Allegra Goodman will break your heart, but will also leave you full of hope.
"What seems at first to be a simple coming-of-age story deepens under its own weight and shows itself to be a beautiful meditation on all the ways we love and fail each other. I was moved by the cumulative power of Sam, and I'm still rooting for the characters." Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward
"I've been an Allegra Goodman fan for years, but Sam is hands down my new favorite. I loved this powerful and endearing portrait of a girl who must summon deep within herself the grit and wisdom to grow up." Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers
"Bracing . . . Sam's . . . travails gain heft through [Allegra] Goodman's perceptiveness, specificity regarding Sam's emotions, and arresting turns of phrase. It's impressive how much emotional power is packed into this . . . contained story." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Allegra Goodman is the author of five novels, two short story collections, and a novel for young readers. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.