Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sam I Am by Ilene Cooper

When Sam Goodman's dog Pluto knocks down their Christmas tree, (also known in their family as the Hanukkah Bush), his parents start to think about whether or not they made a wise decision to raise the children without organized religion. Sam's dad suggests they celebrate Hanukkah this year, which creates a lot of tension in the household -- especially between the parents, as both grandmothers come for a visit and spend the holidays sniping at each other. Even after the holidays are over, his parents' bickering and his confusion over what religion he really is, continue to bother 12-year-old Sam. He has tried talking to God (at his mother's suggestion), but God doesn't seem to be listening. When his class in school begins studying the Holocaust, Sam only feels more distressed. Sam is a thoughtful kid, and he brings up a lot of good questions. Unfortunately, he never does receive much help with his situation. While I enjoyed the characters, and felt that many of the situations rang true, I found the conclusion to be unsatisfying. Review by Jane Malmberg.

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