Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD” as Want to Read:
Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  839 ratings  ·  142 reviews
The summer before entering sixth grade, Sammy, a bright and charming boy who lived on the coast of Maine, suddenly began to exhibit disturbing behavior. He walked and ate with his eyes shut, refused to bathe, burst into fits of rage, slithered against walls, and used his limbs instead of his hands to touch light switches, doorknobs, and faucets.

Sammy’s mother, Beth, alr
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Crown (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Saving Sammy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Saving Sammy

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  839 ratings  ·  142 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD
Brian Burt
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My oldest son was afflicted with the same condition that tormented Sammy Maloney. He had been a happy, healthy child until shortly before his 11th birthday, when everything fell apart for him in the weeks following a high fever. We spent years desperately searching for someone in the medical community who could help him, with very little luck. Then we came across "Saving Sammy" and Beth's battle to save her son, a story that was painfully familiar. This book changed everything for us! It may lit ...more
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An amazing and emotional story of how one mother literally saved her son's life. This is an incredible story about a boy who caught OCD. I urge anyone who has regular contact with children to read this book. This mother discovered what has not reached the mainstream medical community yet, that sometimes there is a connection between infections and mental illness.

I don't know how this mother was able to cope with her son's behaviors. My hat's off to her for her unfaltering devotion to discovering
Yukari Watanabe
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OCD and Tourette's Syndrome are still mysterious. Every case is different and there's no guarantee the "usual" treatment works.

Since I translated Harvard Medical School Psychologist Lee Baer's OCD book "Imp of the Mind" into Japanese, I have read quite a few OCD related books. I regarded myself quite knowledgeable with this subject, but I had never heard of "PANDASPediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections" before. I have googled and found very few r
Cindy Scott
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was very captivated by this book. Anyone who deals with mental illness within themselves or a friend/family member should read 'Saving Sammy'.

This book detailed just how dramatically, and how fast, OCD can take over a child's life. The story was particularly special to me because Sammy's struggle is one that I personally dealt with and one that is not commonly discussed in popular culture. As the story developed and Sammy's condition got worse, there were moments I could deeply relate to him p
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well written account of a boy who suffers from severe OCD that was caused by an undiagnosed case of strep in his system. He was asymptomatic for strep. It's truly frightening to consider how many cases of mental illness in children and teens could be attributed to infection in the body.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
My original review found here: Saving Sammy Review

I'm excited to have another opportunity to review a book for TLC Book Tours. This time the book I am reviewing is Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Maloney.

Honestly, I kind of ignored the book for a while after TLC sent it to me, simply because I thought it would be fairly heavy subject matter (being a true story about an ailing child and all) and I wasn't really in the mood for that kind of a read at the moment.

Imagine my surp
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts slowly. The author's son starts demonstrating extreme characteristics of Tourette's Syndrome, and until 40 percent of the way through the book, she thinks it must be from the family's having moved from one house to another. Even though I have an older brother with Tourette's, with which he was never diagnosed until 10 years ago, it seems that the tics, snorts, throat-clearing, and repetitive actions of the author's son should have at least given her the idea that her son had a s ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
"[B]efore any child is placed on psychiatric medication, we must ask the questions: Could this be an infection? Could it be a virus or bacteria? Have we tested to be certain that there's no invasive cause? ... If we are told that the questions are not appropriate, if we feel embarrassed or uncomfortable for asking, or if we're summarily dismissed with 'No, that's not it,' then we must find another doctor. Because while I do not think that every mental illness is due to infection, the possibility ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I recently had this book loaned to me, based on my enjoyment of The Perks of Being a Wallflower; and I have to admit that, while a completely different style of book, this narrative was no less gripping.

I finished the book (240 pages) in about three hours, and it was one of the more emotionally draining books that I've read in recent years. Unlike Perks it is not told from the perspective of the afflicted, but from the perspective of his mother. You experience all the turmoil that comes with tre
Sep 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was extremely enlightening to me about what a severe OCD child goes through and also how they may be helped if they have PANDAS. You truly get into the story and see what this mother went through. You see the pain that it causes her other children. While I didn't always agree with all of her decisions and spent a lot of the book wondering why the father wasn't helping out more, I still found her thought process fascinating. You feel her struggles of not giving up o ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Living this story & still seeking answers. Beth’s story powerful and reignited the flame to get to root of my own child’s illness. I marvel at her strength and truly admire how she managed to move day-to-day with strength & grace. Many moments in this journey are gritty so this lady is gull of admiration for those who go before us, laying a foundation of change, purpose, proper treatment, and not accepting anything less than the desire to help children while remaining open to answers outside sta ...more
Paula Gallagher
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's not difficult to be swept up into Beth Maloney's nightmare. Parents will read this book with a shudder, wondering if they could possibly match Maloney's patience and tenacity as she struggles with the medical mystery that is her son Sammy. The book serves as a reminder that while doctors are professionals, they don't have all the answers. Ultimately it is up to the patient (or in this case, the mother) to do outside research and become their own advocate. ...more
Judi Hurwitz
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is invaluable if you have a child or know a child who has PANDAS.
This is the story of a mother who won’t take no for an answer until she is able to cure her suffering child.
Everyone should learn about PANDAS, parents, teachers, dr’s, psychologists, etc.
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-sent-to-me
The Short of It:

A startling look at one family’s experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder and how a mother’s unwavering quest for a cure slowly brings about change within the medical community. Touching and well-told. This is a story with a purpose.

The Rest of It:

I picked this book up, read about ten pages and then could not put it down. I finished it in just a few sittings. Anyone with a child can relate to the difficulties of dealing with a sick kid. There is nothing worse than seeing you
Sheila DeChantal
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Imagine... you are a newly single mom with three sons. All your boys are wonderful and your son Sammy who just completed 5th grade has been told by his teacher that he scores higher in math skills then she has ever seen.

Then that summer before 6th grade right after a move into a new home, Sammy starts some strange behavior. He refuses to use the bathroom in the house and wants to only go outside to do his bathroom "business", he also refuses to touch door knobs, and picks up things like silverw
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book I was referring to in my post from last night was Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD, by Beth Alison Maloney. I sat down to read at 6pm and finished it a few hours later. I swear, I meant to get off the couch and work on my final exams, but it just didn’t happen. I was really taken aback by how much this book affected me.

Maloney’s son Sammy inexplicably developed OCD-like symptoms after a move. At first she thought he was acting strange under stress due to the move and divorce
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Saving Sammy presents an intriguing story, from the very wording of the title ("Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD") to the very difficulties and struggles faced by one unrelenting mother.
Beth Allison Maloney, shares the interesting story of how her son (Sammy) becomes progressively obsessive-compulsive, feral, and distraught, and the agonizing three year journey they take to return to normalcy.
It seems to be every parents worst nightmare -- their extroverted, smart, academically inclined child s
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of a child's sudden descent into mental illness and his mother's frantic attempts to cope with the symptoms/behaviors while being the child's advocate, finding appropriate diagnosis and treatment (and incidentally trying to support herself and her three sons as a single mom and be able to still give some energy to the other two boys).

The book is powerfully written and reads almost like a novel. It grabs you through its absolute specificity and clarity of observation. This mom r
Moayad Taibah
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book caught me off guard with its sheer brilliance!

I purchased this audio book with the hopes of getting a psychological inside look at OCD through the case study of a patient called Sammy, instead I got the amazing emotional journey that his family, specially his mother, went through. I shouldn't have expected any less since it is written by Sammy's mom herself, and I thank her for sharing her personal experience of helping a family member, her son none the less, go through this. The book
Nikki Byer
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book that was hard to put down. It is about a mother who fights valiantly to get help for her son who has been diagnosed with OCD. The magnitude of how his disorder disrupted their lives goes beyond imagination.
It drove home to me how very serious a strep infection can be. I remember my father telling me of a childhood friend dying from a strep infection. Of course, he was born in 1911, so he grew up before the age of antibiotics. In this time, we take it very lightly because
Sep 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Saving Sammy tells the touching story of a bright, active twelve year old boy, a middle child, who one day suddenly begins to exhibit strange behaviors.

Beth Maloney, a single mom of three boys, tells the story of what happened to her son Sammy. Almost overnight Sammy went from what seemed like a normal boy to one with strange rituals: he refused to bathe, had to have five different types of drinks at mealtime, refused to touch doornobs and faucets, had issues with stairs, walked along walls, and
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is about the determination and fortitude of Beth Alison Maloney, the mother of an OCD afflicted child to get back to Kayaking.

Sorry , Couldn't help.My girlfriend has OCD and I know it's no laughing matter.

The book doesn't offer much insight if one were to read this with the intention of knowing what goes on inside the head of an OCD patient.
But what this book does accomplish brilliantly is to showcase the resilience of Beth to fight and win her son's war with OCD, the kind of fight tha
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I met a delightful woman on a Southwest flight recently and we clicked almost instantly. Turns out she was in the foster care system in Maine as a child and she now works as a foster care advocate. The author of this book was her guardian ad litem so I felt I had to read this (and the subject is so compelling). I thought the book was extremely "tight"; told the story of her son so very well and so succinctly. I cannot imagine how she got through this ordeal and I am so impressed by her and her s ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting story about how a boy with OCD actually had a severe strep infection that affected his brain. Of course, this is an unusual reason for OCD and many doctors are not on-board with this. The author (his mother) had to do lots of research and advocate for her son to get results. Fortunately, she had experience as an attorney and a court advocate for children. Her story is intense, her son's OCD was way over the top and for a long while there were no answers. The book was published in ...more
Stephanie Mccall
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
How does one deal with a sick child, when the diagnosis is unknown? If you're Beth Maloney, you hunt down answers with all the tenacity of a bear protecting her cubs. I bought this book after watching a version of Sammy Maloney's story on "Mystery Diagnosis." The full version made my jaw drop several times. I admired Beth's strength and determination, yet so many times, simply wanted to gather the family into my arms and hug them. Descriptions of how life in Kennebunkport, Maine is "supposed" to ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in less than 24 hours. For those of you that know me, that's quite an accomplishment. This book is the amazing TRUE story of a mother and her 12 year old boy, who develops severe, debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It takes almost a year to figure out that an underlying strep infection is causing the OCD (he'd never "had" strep throat). Along the way the mom encounters many frustrating doctors, but also some doctors who are angels in disguise. Finally, her son ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir written by a mother who's world is turned upside down when her 12 year old son suddenly develops some very strange symptoms. It starts with a few "quirks" such as having to touch everything he passes, but quickly develops into something much more serious. Every moment of his life is taken up by strange, obsessive behaviors and compulsions. Doctors say he has OCD, but how did this come on so suddenly? A friend mentions to Beth that an acquaintance developed similar symptoms and i ...more
Laurie Gough
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a life-saver for me. My ten-year-old son also developed OCD in response to the trauma of his grandfather dying and in my desperate search for reading material on the subject (besides all the excellent how-do, ERP books) I came across Beth's book. I felt like I could finally breathe when I read this book. It was so reassuring to read about another mother going through so much of what our family experienced. The only difference was, Sammy had PANDAS and my son didn't. As I said, his ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Sammy and how his mother perservered in finding answers when the doctors wouldn't listen. Not only is it important in the aspect of increasing awareness that OCD symptoms can be caused by strep, it also illustrates the importance of not just accepting a medical professional's opinion as sacrosanct. As this story illustrates, it is okay to question the opinion of your doctor and to get second, third and fourth opinions and to do your own research and draw informed con ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2012-reads
For perhaps the first third of this book, I was ready to give it four stars. It's the story of a mother's (the author) determined attempts to get at the root of her son's sudden onsent of OCD. The illness completely debilitated the child as well as the functioning of the family. I admire the mother and her tenacity, but the many descriptions of Sammy's behaviors got tiresome. I also had many questions about how the other two boys in the family were impacted, but that was barely described. Near t ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #2)
  • Sandwich: Cape Cod's Oldest Town (Images of America: Massachusetts)
  • Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries
  • Words with Wings
  • Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March
  • Moms
  • Stepping Stones
  • Sincerely, Harriet
  • No Ivy League
  • America Is Not the Heart
  • May B.
  • The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People
  • Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel
  • Living Life in Full Bloom: 120 Daily Practices to Deepen Your Passion, Creativity & Relationships
  • We Wait for the Sun
  • The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness
  • Little White Duck: A Childhood in China
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Walter Isaacson, it’s safe to say, is not afraid of tackling the really big topics. In 2011, he wrote about our ubiquitous computer culture...
1 likes · 0 comments