Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister

by

Rachel Simon

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Sam Character Analysis

Sam is the boyfriend who Rachel broke up with four years before the events of the book. This breakup left her with very little money and virtually no social life, and she coped with these circumstances by totally dedicating herself to work for four years (until the year she started riding the buses with Beth). At the end of the book, Rachel finds the confidence to reconnect with Sam, and they eventually get married. This outcome shows how her time with Beth has taught her to love more courageously and authentically.
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Sam Character Timeline in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The timeline below shows where the character Sam appears in Riding the Bus with My Sister. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. January: The Journey
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
...leisure, or love since for four years, ever since she ended things with her boyfriend Sam. The breakup left her penniless and lonely, so she started working as much as possible. (full context)
12. May: Lunch with Jesse
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...each other up when they’re feeling sad. Rachel remembers how she used to feel about Sam, and Jesse jokes, “Now I got you stumped.” A few days later, Beth sends Rachel... (full context)
13. May: Matchmaker
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...isn’t interested in a relationship. But secretly, she is. One evening, she hears one of Sam’s favorite songs playing in the supermarket and realizes how much she misses him. She worries... (full context)
15. June: The Earth Mother
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...win.” Rachel admits that she’s struggling to accept her own insecurities—she can’t stop thinking about Sam and wondering if they should try to get back together. One day, she calls him,... (full context)
31. November: The Girlfriend
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
...want to take things further yet because she still isn’t totally over her breakup with Sam. She wonders if “we are all Beths, boarding other people’s life journeys, or letting them... (full context)
32. November: The Eighteenth Hole
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
While Rachel and Sam face deep relationship issues and break up, Rachel starts falling out of touch with Beth.... (full context)
35. December: Iz Gonna Be All Right
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...first time. She passes a familiar stretch of highway—years before, she was driving here with Sam and Beth when smoke started coming out of her car. They pulled over, got out,... (full context)
37. A Year and a Half Later: The Miracle Maker
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...start dating again. This May afternoon is special because it’s Rachel’s wedding day—and she’s marrying Sam. She called him 10 months before, and they feel like their new courtship is “a... (full context)