Cover Image: Sam


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Member Reviews

I did not end up reading this novel. The rating is not a reflection of the story itself, but rather an indication that other books/stories dominated my interest and reading time. Which I think is an important factor when selecting your next read.
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Sam by Allegra Goodman was a quiet but moving coming of age story. Every book by Goodman has been starkly different which I whole heartedly appreciate.

At the start of the book, Sam is all light and sunshine, but as her single mom struggles with multiple jobs and her half-brother’s behavioral issues increase, Sam becomes stunted at home.

Her release come in the form of climbing. She is strong and wants to the be the best. Climbing becomes her safe space.

The friends she meets through climbing teach her much about life. For example, she had never seen parents that live together, let alone talk and laugh. Through these friends she realizes more of what she wants, and to do what makes her happy, rather than her please her mother. This book delves into divorce, risk, grief, coming of age, romance, and education.
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I love a good coming of age story and this one reached my expectations. As a 7 year old, Sam loves her parents and tries her hardest to make them proud. As her father gets more erratic in his behavior the more Sam turns to her one outlet: climbing. Sam loves to climb and will do it anytime she gets a chance. After her climbing coach begins to show extra interest in her, Sam is forced to grow up. Great read!
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This book was powerful, but a very slow build. It is told through the eyes of Sam, ages from 7 to 19, so the viewpoint is changing as she matures.  Sam goes through so much in her young years, including her mother’s poor choice in her second husband, her own father’s alcoholism and frequent disappearance from her life, the necessity of helping to care for her younger half brother, and little money.  Her mother wants more for Sam than she has, and constantly reminds her that an education is how she can have security and success in her life. Sam is indifferent toward school, but her father takes her to a rock wall on one of his appearances, and this becomes her passion and her escape.  As Sam grows into a young woman, life gets increasingly messy, which I won’t detail. It was hard to watch her struggles. She finds friends who help her and some who take advantage of her before she finds her own way.  I liked the direction at the end, and I’m glad we were left with hope for Sam. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House/Dial Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

The book is told from the perspective of Sam, a girl whom we follow from the time she is 7 until she is 19. Her mother, Courtney, is holding down two jobs and trying to make ends meet. Her father is in and out of the picture. Sam faces many challenges as she grows up -- a broken home, not fitting in at school, and not fulfilling her mother's expectations.

When Sam discovers rock climbing, her world changes. She finally has something she enjoys and a group of people with whom she connects. As her rock climbing improves and she succeeds in more difficult challenges, her confidence in her abilities to face the future grows.
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Sam by Allegra Goodman is a coming of age story for a teenager and her largely dysfunctional family.  The family is poor and Sam is struggling to find her place in this world.  Sam begins to rock climb which helps her find some happiness among her peers.  Although this is an enjoyable novel at times I felt that there was a bit too much detail on the rock climbing aspect of Sam’s life.  The complex relationships in Sam’s life make this a worthwhile read.  Growing up can be a difficult and anxiety provoking time in one’s life as this novel depicts in vivid detail.
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So, who is Sam? Sam is a young girl, a child of separated parents, who lives with her mother and younger brother. As her mother struggles to support her family, her father, a magician, comes and goes. Sam loves to climb and takes lessons at the local Y. This is a coming of age novel. We watch as Sam overcomes her issues and finds herself. This novel was on all the “watch lists” for this winter. However as I listened to Goodman being interviewed, I thought that it may not be for me. I was wrong.
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It was an ok read but I struggled with this one.  The story didn't flow for me.  It reads short and choppy.  I couldn't seem to connect with the characters.  The glossing over the fact that Sam gets in a relationship that essentially is statutory rape and it is not really addressed as such bothers me.  The story was depressing for me.  A hard coming of age story that left me sad.
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Another book that blew me away. Something about Sam has buried itself in me and I can’t stop thinking about it. It begins when Sam is seven and ends when she’s 19, and I loved how the writing style grew and matured with her. We follow her as she deals with parents who are no longer together, a father who is trying his best but often fails, a mother trying to support two kids on her own, and all of the growing pains that come with getting older and trying to figure out who you are. So many parts of this book absolutely broke my heart, and the characters and settings were so vivid that I often felt like I WAS Sam. Pick this up if you like coming of age stories, slow burn character-driven books, and if you want to be put in someone else’s shoes.
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i really liked this book, but i also kept checking to see when it would be over. i feel like, maybe, it would have made a bigger impact on me when i was younger, reckoning with relationships - familial and romantic. i just felt a bit too old for it. but it was still pretty lovely.
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Despite the ominous cover, Sam is a delightful coming of age tale. Sam is the title character and the story follows her from 7 years old to early adulthood. Sam's relationships with her parents shape her ability to overcome the effects of poverty and addiction. Although she is burdened with too much responsibility at a young age, Sam perseveres through grief and disappointment. The cover gives the suggestion of Sam hiding in the shadows, the book is much more optimistic.
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Courtesy of Netgalley, I received the ARC of Sam by Allegra Goodman. This coming of age story follows Sam from the age of 7 through 19, as she evolves through challenges and expectations. Through the example and metaphor of rock climbing, Sam sets and rejects goals, faces disappointment, makes choices, develops motivation, and matures. I was cheering her on!
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📝 melancholy, pensive, visceral writing
🏃‍♀️ extremely character driven
🧗‍♀️ rock-climbing vibes
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 explores family dynamics 
💰+ financial struggles
💊 + substance use disorder
🚺 + the female experience
🫀 + complex loves stories
🌱 coming-of-age
🪞 reflective
🥺 emotional & sad
⚠️ dm me for TW
🦥 slow vibes
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Special thanks to Random House Publishing  and Netgalley for the ARC of this book..

I wasn't feeling this book. There is nothing wrong with it, and I do like the author. I think she drew from her own life writing about Sam. It is definitely a coming-of-age story of a girl's childhood into teen years and how her parents splitting up affected her.

Sam doesn't conform to what girls are supposed to do as in studying and the right clothes to fit in, but she is like a monkey, loves to climb. It's like she literally can't sit still. Maybe she reminded me too much of my boyfriend's daughter who just wouldn't stop moving. 

I think it broke my heart but left me feeling hopeless when I should of felt hopeful. Still, great writing. It just hit too close to home for me, as my stepdaughter has changed only for the worst. I couldn't relate in that way and found myself wishing my stepdaughter was more like Sam and I felt awful comparing them.
3 stars
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This is an excellent book.

It starts out with Sam being a seven year old child who doesn’t really care about a whole lot. She’s not worried about being popular or having the best clothes. She learns about climbing from her dad whom she adores even though he is absent much of the time. He has an addiction problem so that is the most important thing in his life right now. 

This book is so well written. You feel this child’s life. How she grows and how the writing style changes as she grows. The loves she has and loses. The way her mother tries to run her life. Maybe for the best but it’s her life. 

This is a much adored story. Getting to know Sam through all the ages of her life. From seven to nineteen she has a lot going on. 

It’s really a great story.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Five stars and a high recommendation.
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3.8.  I’m not a fan of coming off age stories. However, this one is better than most but for me, Catcher in the Rye is the penultimate coming of age novel.  I do like Allegra Goodman and really liked Katterskill Falls.  Her protagonist, Sam, is extremely well defined and we follow her from a young age of 7 to her early 20s.  We watch her disappointment with her always disappearing father, her hardworking mother who constantly tells her to achieve and go to college, and her path to adulthood is not easy but marred by many obstacles.and challenges.   Ms Goodman did a good job in developing her character as well as the others.  In parts hard to stay engaged but a good novel with excellent dialogue.
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This was an interesting coming of age novel.  The author gives Sam a variety of unsettling and difficult experiences as she navigates from childhood to young adulthood.  I like that all the characters are flawed, fumbling through life as best they can.  It gives the story an honest, raw feel.
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Excellent.  Heart-breaking.  Beautiful.
Goodman's accomplishment here is stunning - writing Sam starting at age 7, then slowly phasing to 19 years old.
A story of a little girl lost who finds her way.
Very highly recommend. Love it!
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I want to say that the book is probably very lovely and moving but I just could not finish reading it. The voice or style of writing whatever you want to consider it was just not for me. It was too choppy and I didn't feel like it flowed at all it kept me out of the story and in my own head. So to be fair I did not finish the book but I did not like the style.
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“Sam” is a solid book that follows a little girl as she transitions into a young woman.  I thought I’d like this one more, but for some reason it felt choppy to me and I could not get a true connection to this story.  Her home life is not easy-financial struggles and parents who are not together.  It appears I’m in the minority regarding my lack of adoration when you look at the other reviews, but I found this one to be a little boring despite the writing itself being solid.  3 stars ⭐️ for this one.  Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for access to this for review.
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