cover image Sammy's House

Sammy's House

Kristin Gore, . . Hyperion, $24.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-0949-7

The sequel to Gore's debut Sammy's Hill (under film development) finds White House aide Samantha "Sammy" Joyce, now in her late 20s and suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, still handling crisis after crisis. Much trusted by now vice-president Robert Gary in her role as health research staffer, Sammy discovers President Wye is secretly drinking again. Then there's the president's father, who, while in a nursing home, may have been sexually accosted by an art teacher—and who dies leaving behind an out-of-wedlock infant. There's also the famous, short movie star, on drugs and with a very large head, who seems to be stalking Sammy. There are camel incidents on a conference trip to India, a reality TV show of the life of the former (and apparently senile) President Pile and possible leaks by a fellow staffer. There are any number of doings with Sammy's nearest and dearest, including highs and lows with Sammy's boyfriend, Washington Post journalist Charlie Lawton. The sense of overload may be intentional, but it's hard not to wish there were less. Still, the book is funny, and the wonk's-eye view of how legislation and trade deals get done (the author is Al Gore's middle daughter) is illuminating, and even inspiring. (July)