Famous Last Words
You could say Sam has an unusual summer job. She works as an intern at the obit (short for obituary) desk of the local newspaper. Sam’s juggling half a dozen things while trying to get through the summer. And her best friend, Shelby, keeps trying to drag her to parties with the popular kids. Jennifer Salvato Doktorski’s FAMOUS LAST WORDS takes her main character, Sam, through a summer of newspaper-shenanigans, flirtations with romance and self-discovery.
"I found Sam to be a likable character: she’s a little bit naive and unassuming, but beneath a superficial exterior she is always eager to learn from the other people on the newspaper staff about reporting the news and how to become a better writer."
Between dealing with her job, friendship and romance, Sam still has to make time for herself. In spite of her growing interest in journalism, she still isn’t sure if it’s something she really has the passion to pursue. While she helps a fellow writer catch a corrupt mayor in the act, she encounters new opportunities of her own. Sam’s investigation leads her to a meeting with members of the school yearbook, who encourage her to join. At the same time, she’s trying to impress Harry, her boss, to show him she’s capable of writing more than just obituaries. But first, Sam must learn how to write about the lives of the dead before she can go off chasing leads of her own. Harry assigns her a new task: to make a featured obituary a daily item, whether or not there are enough obituaries to fill the section. He tells her to look beyond the formulaic writing style and look deeper into the lives of the people who passed away.
I found Sam to be a likable character: she’s a little bit naive and unassuming, but beneath a superficial exterior she is always eager to learn from the other people on the newspaper staff about reporting the news and how to become a better writer. Her insatiable passion for seeking out stories to tell coupled with her stubborn determination make her a powerful narrator. While Sam may not have all the answers, she’s certainly willing to go searching for them on her own.
Reviewed by Ashley L. on August 20, 2013