Saving Sammy

by Beth Alison Maloney

Saving Sammy Summary

When he was just 12 years old, Sammy Maloney and his family moved across the country from California to Maine. His whole world turned upside down, and he soon began showing signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This disturbing behavior troubled his single mother and his brothers. Sammy's refusal to bathe was unhealthy, his fits of rage were dangerous to himself and others, and his inability to act socially was hard to accept. Sammy's mother Beth refused to believe that Sammy's OCD was unable to be cured. Through years of hard work and effort, Sammy and his family worked to cure his illness.

Beth Maloney, Author and Mother

Beth Maloney was not only the author of Saving Sammy. She is Sammy Maloney's mother. During the time of Sammy's illness, Maloney was not only a full-time single mother, but also a full-time attorney. Beth is an advocate for PANDAS, which caused Sammy's illness. Beth Maloney currently lives in Maine and continues to practice law.

Text-To-World Connections

Due to the fact that Saving Sammy is a nonfiction book and tells the story of a real boy's illness, there are many connections that deal with text to world. OCD is a well known disease, though not many people have it on the scale that Sammy did. One example is that doctors were not used to going against the norm, and had a hard time willingly testing Sammy for strep. One mother in the story shared her concerns for Beth and Sammy, stating "My son suffered like this for ten years before we found out it was all due to strep" (Maloney 109). One major event in the story is that Sammy was cured. It was stated at the very beginning of the novel, but recovery is not achievable in all cases of mental illness. Sammy's recovery was almost as rare as his illness.


Beth Maloney Biography. (2014, January 1). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Maloney, Beth. (2009.) Saving Sammy. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.