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Sammy’s Hill, Kristin Gore


Miramax, chick lit, September 2004

Holy shit. A chick lit novel I actually liked. Not since Meg Cabot’s The Boy Next Door have I enjoyed a chick lit so much. I’m stunned. I really am.

Sammy’s Hill follows the trials and tribulations of Samantha Joyce, a 26-year-old staffer with Senator Robert Gary. She’s fresh off the turnip truck from Ohio, and is loving life on Capitol Hill, despite her inability to keep pet fish alive and her search for a meaningful relationship. I laughed and cringed and cheered as Sammy got into scrape after scrape with her fish, her Blackberry, her best friend with a talent for picking losers, and the men in her life—from stoned senior Alan Jackson to steady and sober Senator Gary to suave and slimy Aaron Driver to nerdy and earnest reporter Charlie Lawton.

Ms. Gore is eminently qualified to talk about life on the Hill, given that she’s Al Gore’s daughter. There’s a lot of subtle yet scathing political commentary to be found in the form of fictional and corrupt President Pile (even that name is a hoot), as well as issues where our real-life policies fall short of actually helping the people they’re supposed to—like senior citizens being forced to buy their drugs from Canada because they cannot afford them here.

Ms. Gore is also eminently qualified when it comes to humor, given that she’s an award-winning Saturday Night Live and Futurama writer. Sammy’s predicaments are a laugh-out-loud riot, and the dialogue sparkles. Sammy is neurotic, but not annoyingly so, like most chick-lit heroines, and thanks be to the gods, she’s not obsessed with her appearance or her weight. I love that.

About the only thing that fell short in this novel was Sammy and Charlie. I needed Charlie to be more developed, to try to understand him as more than just the guy who always catches Sammy in her most humiliating moments. Given how the story ends, I need to know more about this guy. The other men in Sammy’s life looked good on the surface too—if this is an HEA, I need to see more. But otherwise, this is a breezy treat, and one I’m glad I found. If Ms. Gore writes another book, I’ll be there.

Review ©2006 by Riley Merrick

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