Gore, Kristin 1977–
Gore, Kristin 1977–
(Kristin C. Gore)
Born June 5, 1977, in Carthage, TN; daughter of Albert (a politician) and Tipper Gore; married Paul Cusack, April, 2005. Education: Harvard University, graduated 1999.
Home—Los Angeles, CA.
Writer. Futurama (animated television series), story editor and staff writer, 2000-03.
Sammy's Hill (novel), Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Sammy's House (novel), Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.
Has also written for television series Saturday Night Live and Charlie Lawrence. Contributor to Harvard Lampoon.
Many people will recognize Kristin Gore as the daughter of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, but few know that she is also an accomplished comic writer. Shortly after graduating from college, Gore joined the staff of the hit animated show Futurama, where she was the only female writer; she also wrote for the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live. However, "after writing for TV for a while, I got fed up with all of the cancellations and the volatility in that industry," Gore told Early Show interviewer Harry Smith, as quoted on the CBS News Web site. "Also, you're always writing for someone else's character and story, and I really wanted to develop my own." These feelings, along with some encouragement from her mother and Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein, led Gore to write the novel Sammy's Hill. The title character is Samantha "Sammy" Joyce, a twenty-six-year-old staffer on Capitol Hill. Sammy attempts to serve her boss, the junior senator from Ohio, with cogent analyses of health-care policies, yet when she is not working she is struggling with not killing any more pet goldfish, trying to shoehorn the time for a succession of often ill-chosen boyfriends into her schedule, chatting with telemarketers about her love life, and worrying about what she would do if attacked by an escaped lion from the National Zoo. Despite her chronically mismatched shoes, the Snuffleupagus (the Sesame Street character) mug that she uses for coffee in the office, and her occasional e-mail goofs, she is good at what she does. She's "the most neurotic yet endearing character to come along since Bridget Jones," Stacy Alesi declared in Library Journal.
Some readers may find the idea of a Bridget Jonesian character working on Capitol Hill and actually making a difference unrealistic, but Gore, with her extensive experience of political life, begs to differ. "People think of DC as sort of stuffy or impenetrable," she told Newsweek contributor Sean Smith. "But I had lots of friends—and knew people on my father's campaign—who had this incredibly pure impulse to change the world and devoted their lives to it. I wanted to celebrate that and make that accessible." Reviewers did indeed find the book accessible, as well as funny. For example, Justine Van Der Leun, writing in O, called Sammy's Hill "an absurd and convincing rendering of everyday life in the political jungle" Sammy's "charming narration is guaranteed to have readers in stitches," Kristine Huntley concluded in Booklist.
Gore returns to the further adventures of Samantha in the 2007 Sammy's House, in which she is now a staffer at the White House, assistant to Vice President Robert Gary, and involved in health matters. Her private life, however, is still in disarray, which includes a nasty bowel problem, the unwanted attention of a horizontally challenged actor, and the ups and downs of her relationship with a journalist for the Washington Post. In addition to these personal problems, Samantha must deal with professional woes, which include a dipsomaniac president as well as a potential scandal involving the president's father.
Reviewers generally responded warmly to this sequel. A Publishers Weekly contributor found that the "book is funny, and the wonk's-eye view of how legislation and trade deals get done … is illuminating, and even inspiring." Similarly, Missy Schwartz, writing in Entertainment Weekly, termed Sammy's House a "lighthearted, fun read." Los Angeles Times critic Patt Morrison also had praise for this second novel, calling it "an amusing insider's turn on a place that takes itself way too seriously." New York Times Book Review critic Ross Douthat was less praiseworthy in his assessment, however, noting: "The only thing that makes the book the least bit titillating is the window it seems to open into the Gore family psyche." USA Today contributor Deirdre Donahue found more to like in the novel, though, observing that Gore "puts the whole spinning, leaking, blogging politico-media circus on display, complete with sleazy, back-stabbing senators and amoral media pundits."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 1871.
Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of Sammy's House, p. 8; July 7, 2007, "Inside Jokes: Kristin Gore's Hero Must Deal with Machinations That Threaten to Engulf the White House," p. 3.
Bookseller, April 23, 2004, "Kristin Gore," p. 29.
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA), August 19, 2007, "Kristin Gore Is Write on Track."
Cosmopolitan, April, 1999, Sallie Brady, "Absolutely Gore-geous," p. 212; September, 2004, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 312.
Daily Variety, September 30, 2004, Addie Morfoot, "Scribe Tribe Toasts Gore," p. 23.
Entertainment Weekly, September 1, 2000, Clarissa Cruz, "Relative Merits: Family," p. 13; July 13, 2007, Missy Schwartz, review of Sammy's House, p. 73.
Guardian (London, England), March 17, 2005, Dan Glaister, "Gore Blimey," interview with Kristin Gore.
Hollywood Reporter, October 4, 2004, Chris Gardner, "Hill at Horns."
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 595.
Library Bookwatch, March, 2005, review of Sammy's Hill.
Library Journal, August, 2004, Tania Barnes, "Q & A: Kristin Gore," p. 67, Stacy Alesi, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 67.
Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2007, Patt Morrison, review of Sammy's House.
M2 Best Books, July 25, 2003, "Kristin Gore to Publish First Novel"; April 13, 2004, "Random House Acquires Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore."
Miami Herald, July 18, 2007, Author Kristin Gore Knows Politics, but ‘Sammy's House’ Plods Anyway.
Nashville Scene, September 16, 2004, Michelle Jones, "Bridget Does DC"
Newsweek, May 29, 2000, "Writing Gore's Laugh Lines," p. 4; September 6, 2004, Sean Smith, "This Gore Is No Bore: An (Almost) First Daughter Writes a Hilarious First Novel," p. 6.
New York Times Book Review, July 22, 2007, Ross Douthat "Young Climbers in Love," p. 6.
New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007, "Washington Insider," p. 20.
O, September, 2004, Justine Van Der Leun, "Gored! A Funny Smash of a Debut Novel by a Political Scion," p. 228.
People, September 4, 2000, Steven Cojocaru, "Behind the Seams," p. 98; October 2, 2000, "Family Assets: Not Just Al's Kids Anymore, Karenna and Kristin Gore Take up the Fight for Their Father," p. 76; September 20, 2004, Anne Driscoll, "Kristin Gore: Bridget Jones Does Capitol Hill?"
Publishers Weekly, July 12, 2004, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 42; September 20, 2004, Daisy Maryles, "What Makes Sammy Run?," p. 18; March 26, 2007, review of Sammy's House, p. 60.
Time, August 21, 2000, Karen Tumulty, "A Comic in the Family," p. 59; August 2, 2004, Sora Song, review of Sammy's Hill, p. 89.
USA Today, July 12, 2007, "Find out What Makes ‘Sammy’ Cool," p. 5.
Acid Logic,http://www.acidlogic.com/ (June 15, 2005), John Saleeby, "Gore Daughter: Comic Genius!"
CBS News Online,http://www.cbsnews.com/ (September 9, 2004), "Kristin Gore's Novel Set in DC."
Girl.com,http://www.girl.com.au/ (June 15, 2005), review of Sammy's Hill.
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (July 30, 2007), review of "Sammy's House."
Washingtonian.com,http://www.washingtonian.com/ (July 18, 2007), Ruth Samuelson, "Washington, Real and Ridiculous: An Interview with Novelist Kristin Gore."