Sam by Allegra Goodman 2023

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Book Name: Sam by Allegra Goodman

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The Dial Press
  • Publication Date: January 3, 2023
  • Category: Children & Youth
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593447816
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593447819

Book Cover

Sam by Allegra Goodman


Book Review:

Sam by Allegra Goodman is a coming-of-age novel that follows the life of a young girl named Sam as she grows up and navigates the complexities of adolescence and early adulthood. The novel is a powerful reflection on class, addiction, parenthood, longing, and ambition.

The novel opens with a young girl who adores her father but doesn’t see him much, while her mother struggles to make ends meet and constantly reminds her daughter that her life should be different. The Girl doesn’t fit in at school and doesn’t care about following the rules; instead, she loves to climb and finds a sense of belonging and purpose when she’s doing it.

As Sam grows older, she struggles with self-doubt and insecurity. She wants her climbing coach to notice her, but his attention crosses boundaries she doesn’t know how to resist. She also wishes her father would leave for good, but once he’s gone, she realizes how much she’s lost. She rebels against her mother’s constant pressure to plan for a more secure future and wrestles with who she wants to be in the face of societal expectations.

Throughout the novel, Goodman delves deep into Sam’s psyche, exploring the complexities of her character and the challenges she faces as she grows up. The novel is beautifully written, with spare sentences that belie the depth and tenderness of the story. The characters are well-drawn and complex, and the themes of the novel are explored with sensitivity and insight.

At its heart, “Sam” is a poignant and heartfelt ode to girlhood, exploring the ways in which a child’s sense of joy and belonging can be lost as they grow up. The novel is heartbreaking at times, but it also leaves the reader full of hope, as Sam learns to forge her own path and make her dreams come true. Overall, “Sam” is a beautifully written and deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will resonate with readers of all ages.

Overview of the book at a glance:

  • The Book is a coming-of-age novel
  • The focus is on a young girl named Sam and her journey to self-discovery
  • The novel explores the complexities of adolescence, including self-doubt, insecurity, rebellion, and societal expectations
  • It delves into themes of family dynamics, addiction, class, parenthood, longing, and ambition
  • The novel is beautifully written with spare sentences that belie the depth and tenderness of the story
  • The characters are well-drawn and complex
  • Overall, “Sam” is a poignant and heartfelt ode to girlhood that will resonate with readers of all ages

Author’s Opinion about the Book:

My new novel SAM is about a young girl’s exuberance, wonder, and ambition as she comes of age.

Jenna Bush Hager picked SAM for her Today Show book club and said, “Sam is about as perfect of a coming-of-age story as I have ever read.”

About me: I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Honolulu.

I now live in Cambridge, MA and I own boots. In addition to writing fiction, I read a lot and teach on occasion. In my free time, I swim and walk around the city.

I have four children, now getting pretty grown up. My oldest son (an economist) reads everything. My second son (a law student and grad student in political theory) reads mostly non-fiction, although I try to get him to read novels. My third son (a college student) loves science fiction, fantasy, and history. My daughter (a college student and aspiring human centered designer) enjoys biography and novels–but only if they have exceptionally beautiful covers!


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