From 1 Wall Street Journal And New York Times Bestselling Author Robert Dugoni.Sam Hill Always Saw The World Through Different Eyes Born With Red Pupils, He Was Called Devil Boy By His Classmates God S Will Is What His Mother Called His Ocular Albinism Her Words Were Of Little Comfort, But Sam Persevered, Buoyed By His Mother S Devout Faith, His Father S Practical Wisdom, And His Two Other Misfit Friends.Sam Believed It Was God Who Sent Ernie Cantwell, The Only African American Kid In His Class, To Be The Friend He So Desperately Needed And That It Was God S Idea For Mickie Kennedy To Storm Into Our Lady Of Mercy Like A Tornado, Uprooting Every Rule Sam Had Been Taught About Boys And Girls.Forty Years Later, Sam, A Small Town Eye Doctor, Is No Longer Certain Anything Was By Design Especially Not The Tragedy That Caused Him To Turn His Back On His Friends, His Hometown, And The Life He D Always Known Running From The Pain, Eyes Closed, Served Little Purpose Now, As He Looks Back On His Life, Sam Embarks On A Journey That Will Take Him Halfway Around The World This Time, His Eyes Are Wide Open Bringing Into Clear View What Changed Him, Defined Him, And Made Him So Afraid, Until He Can Finally See What Truly Matters. 4.5 starsIt was impossible not to care about Sam Hill, his loving parents and his best friends Ernie and Mickie Impossible not to admire Sam s strength of character to endure the bullying and ridicule he experienced because of how he looked with his devil eyes , red eyes as the result of being born with ocular albinism Impossible not to love the man he turns out to be Impossible not to detest the psychotic bully, David Freemon or the mean Sister Beatrice who was unlike any nun I encountered in the 8 years of my grammar school education Having grown up in a Catholic family and having attended a Catholic grammar school, I am very familiar with the phrase God s will which in my experience was almost always used to justify less than desirable circumstances out of one s control, as it was with Sam s mother who uses the phrase frequently I love the champion that his mother was for him She s my favorite character who instills in Sam that his eyes are not rare, but extraordinary There are other extraordinary characters who embody what unconditional love is, what friendship truly means It is a story of fate, of faith, of family and of friendship and how all of these things make us who we are, not how we look These characters are introduced as Sam s story is told in alternating time frames between the present and the years he was growing up I was connected the whole way If I have one criticism, it s just that the ending was way too much, as if the author felt he had to tie up every loose end Having said that, this well written story is moving I felt that it was even meaningful when I read in the acknowledgements about how his parents were when his brother was born with Down syndrome I was moved that the seed for this story was an article he read about a young boy in Australia who had been denied admittance to Catholic school because he had been born with ocular albinism and the nuns thought he d be disruptive to the other students It turned out that the other students had nicknamed this poor child the devil boy I m glad he read that article and that he gave us Sam Hell because of it.Thanks to Diane for letting me know while she was reading this that I should probably read it Without her nudge I may have missed it.I received an advanced copy of this book from Lake Union Press through NetGalley. I m used to Robert Dugoni for the Tracy Crosswhite series This book isn t even a mystery Instead, it s the story of a young man growing up with a genetic abnormality, ocular albinism It s a heartwarming tale as Sam struggles to avoid school bullies, including the nun who is the principal at the catholic elementary school But it s also the story of best friends and the lengths they go to help each other out There are some laugh out scenes that had me guffawing in the middle of an airplane The story also gives us Sam as an adult forced to confront the same bully and the choices he makes color the next ten years of his life Dugoni tells the story with a brisk writing style using short chapters It s a fast, wonderful read that connects with all the emotions It makes some very poignant points about faith, love and forgiveness Make sure to read the Acknowledgements at the end of the book For those who think of Dugoni only as a mystery writer, I urge you to give this one a chance It really spoke to me My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union for an advance copy of this novel. 4.5 stars rounded up.Sam Hill s birth in 1957 caused quite a stir, as he was born with ocular albinism, which left him with red pupils While his religiously devout mother viewed his eyes as evidence of the extraordinary potential his life holds That s not the unanimous view of everyone in their community, however his Catholic school classmates refer to him as Devil Boy Sam s mother was determined that her son live life with great gusto, and not be discouraged by those who treat him badly or try to keep him from the opportunities given to every other child Sam becomes the target of a trio of school bullies who wish to do him harm because of his eyes But while his mother believes that events in Sam s life are determined by God s will, Sam isn t quite so sure that God would want him to suffer in fear and loneliness.It s the arrival of Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in school, who first makes Sam believe people could be heaven sent Ernie becomes Sam s closest friend and confidante, and the two help each other battle those driven by fear and prejudice And when brash Mickie Kennedy arrives at school, she is tougher and stronger than many of the boys, and proves that you really can go through life not caring what people think The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell follows Sam as he travels from childhood to adulthood, experiences the flush of first love and lust, is buoyed by the intense loyalty and love of his closest friends, and, for the first time, realizes that God s will isn t always positive When a tragedy hits close to home, he has to change the course of his life and become the man his mother always knew he would be, and he learns to keep people at a distance so he doesn t get hurt although that doesn t always guarantee emotional safety.This book chronicles 40 years of Sam s life, relationships, work, love, family, and the bonds of friendship It s the story of faith, disbelief, loyalty, and the struggle between right and wrong But than that, it s the story of one extraordinary boy who grows into an extraordinary man.I thought this was a really great book Sam is a fascinating yet flawed character who is able to find strength and courage in the face of tremendous adversity, thanks to an incredible support system of his parents and his friends I grew very attached to these characters and found myself worrying about and cheering them, and wishing they d say the things they needed to, to those they needed to.I have seen many people wax poetic about Robert Dugoni s Tracy Crosswhite series, although I ve not read any of them I was really impressed with his storytelling in this book in some ways it felt a little like John Irving s A Prayer for Owen Meany or something similar It s a book that touched me emotionally and made me think at the same time.My one criticism of the book is that it was a bit melodramatic at times, and I felt that a subplot involving the return of a figure from Sam s childhood really wasn t necessary But beyond that, this is a book which grabbed me from the very first page, and I read it in just a few hours while on a long flight And I may have brushed away than a tear or twoSee all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at Life is either a collision of random events, like billiard balls during a break careening off and into one another, or if you are so inclined to believe, our predetermined fate what my mother took such great comfort in calling God s will Sam was born with a rare genetic condition which made his pupils red Because of this he was rejected admission in a Catholic School but the his brave mother did not let it happen and fight against this rejection This was only a start to the difficulties that Sam, a great student, was about to face in his life because of his eye condition He was called devil boy in his school and was an easy target for bullying But he soon learned to stand up to this hatred against him, and there were his parents and friends on every turn who never lost in faith in him and were a constant source of strength Story was told in past and present Dugoni kept the chapters short and a very tight writing Perhaps because he also write thrillers that he turned every chapter in a short suspense story keeping me on the edge It was to put it down as I kept telling myself one chapter and at the end of that chapter something would happen that I had to read the next chapter I don t even remember how I stumbled upon this gem, all I know is that am glad I read this It is hard not to love this book for the courage that Sam shows when he was targeted because he was different, for the love and faith of parents in their son and for how they supported him, for the friends who devoted themselves to him even when they were frowned upon for it Dugoni explored themes of coming of age, honor, dignity, love, bullying, faith, in simple yet lively manner which made it a riveting read for me Highly recommended. 4 richly drawn stars to The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell What an engaging and poignant story Sam Hell was born with ocular albinism, a condition that causes the blood vessels to show through the irises of the eye, giving a pink or red appearance Sam s family is deeply spiritual, and his mother believes his condition is simply God s will Sam endures bullying and outright discrimination due to his physical appearance His childhood is tough, and he questions his faith Sam s mother is his best advocate and champion The love between all members of this family was palpable and inextinguishable.The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is about his journey of self discovery and self acceptance, but if you ve ever felt different, left out, or lonely, Sam s story could be your story, too This review also now appears on my shiny new book blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com Thank you to Robert Dugoni, Lake Union, and Netgalley, for the ARC The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is now available FANTASTIC audiobook..I love Sam..l loved the way Sam s mother defended him awesome dialogue..loved the storytellingEndearing engrossing and inspiring Thumbs Up up up First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Robert Dugoni, Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.In his latest standalone novel, Robert Dugoni shows just how versatile he can be with his writing His dazzling prose and wonderful ability to convey a story will warm the heart of many readers throughout this powerful novel Sam Hill was born just outside the Bay Area to two loving parents As he tells in the early part of the story, the love his parents showed him was unlike anything else in the world However, Sam was born with a unique feature red irises, called ocular albinism which would come to haunt him in the years to come Though it did not affect his ability to see, Sam was scorned by other young children and faced a significant issue trying to get into the local Catholic school However, his persistent mother never lost the faith and Sam was soon enrolled alongside the other pupils His eyes did cause many an issue, helping him develop the moniker, Sam Hell This did not deter him, though kept the other children from playing alongside him Friends with Ernie Cantwell, a young black boy the only in the school Sam discovered that some children take things to extremes and was severely bullied As hew grew, Sam and Ernie remained the best of friends, soon adding Michaela Mickie Kennedy to their brood As the story progresses, the reader learns of Sam s older years and how things developed for him, allowing life lessons and personal epiphanies to shape his way of life With each part of the book flashing forward to 1989, the reader is able to discover a modern narrative and how Sam has used all those lessons to shape what came to be his greatest moments, influenced deeply by his mother Those fans of Dugoni s work will marvel at this personal story that has all the ingredients his police procedurals as well Those seeking a touching story that does not get too sappy will also love this and may develop a love of Robert Dugoni s writing in general.I have long loved the writing that Dugoni puts out and find myself completely captivated by his current series set in Seattle However, it is wonderful to see an author step away from his her comfort zone and develop an ability to write with an entirely new set of characters and plots Dugoni does this so effortlessly and pulls the reader in the middle of an emotional story that holds the reader s attention until the very last phrase Sam Hill is a wonderful character whose maturation is a fundamental part of the story His backstory and ongoing character development provides the reader with a rich understanding of the issues that he faces as a child with a physical trait that distinguishes him from others Secondary characters, such as Ernie and Mickie provide a wonderful flavour for the story and are offset by the grounded Mr and Mrs Hill, who have their own quirks The vignettes that occur within each part of the larger story provide a wonderful collage of moments that, when sewn together, provided a powerful set of characters that convey a powerful message I almost could not tell that this was Dugoni, so used to his mystery and police stories, though I am blessed to have seen how detailed he made the entire experience Dugoni offers up some wonderful themes throughout the piece and arcs them together effectively, touching the reader at just the right moments The short chapters help push things along and the spiritual nature of the narrative does not create a Christian inculcation, but surely serves as an effective theme in Sam s life and the reader s experience with this novel Kudos, Mr Dugoni, for such a powerful book I can only hope to read standalone novels of this calibre in the years to come.Like hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge 4 Okay, I admit it, I am now officially a marshmallow This book about a young boy, born with red eyes, due to ocular albanism really got to me First, I could relate greatly to his experiences in Catholic school, been there done that Some good sisters, some who should never have been let near small children Sam, is called names, bullied but he does have wonderful, loving parents, and then a black boy enters the school The two outcasts become fast friends Then a little later a girl, who is seemingly not afraid of anything, a maverick, outspoken, who becomes the third in their group This was such a special read for me, and from an author who usually writes a very good mystery series We follow these young people as they grow, see the kind of people they turn out to be How their lives turn out and how the wethered the circumstances of their early lives Such a touching book, one where you embrace the characters, want only good things for them There is also humor, sadness, grief and an unbelievable friendship The end was a bit overdone, well maybe than a bit, actually somewhat mushy I was already sold on the book though, the journey these characters travel to find a fulfilling life So, the ending didn t derail my opinion of the book, and I was actually a little teary eyed Like I said, I m now officially a marshmallow.ARC from Netgalley. 5 most touching extraordinary stars At times you walk away from a book with feelings and emotions and then an hour, a day, a week later, you have forgotten all that you have read However, there are some books that when you finish them, you know in your heart that they will never leave you The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell was just such a book.We meet a wonderful cast of characters, characters we would like to know, characters we would love to have as parents, friends, and neighbors, characters that we could love From Sam, the boy born with red eyes suffering from a rare disease, ocular albinism, nicknamed the devil boy, to his amazing and loving parents we learn as Sam grows the emotional love and concern they share for each other Sam s friends Ernie and Miki, themselves outcasts, join forces to provide Sam with support and love that he is desperately seeking Sam is shunned in his Catholic school environment but it is through his mother s strong faith in both Sam and her Catholic faith coupled with his father s wonderful wisdom that Sam grows into adulthood His road is never easy as he comes against prejudice and hate He is tormented by his nonacceptance into a world where he is taught that things are God s will He is belittled, held back, and faced with obstacles that try to defeat the spirit that his parents try so hard to engender in him for they believe that their son is extraordinary and he deserves his extraordinary life His two lifelong friends bring to Sam love, compassion, and a strong bond that provides him a place to go when his life becomes onerous.This book transported this reader into a world where one can find that which seems to be escaping from our world today, that of human kindness, forgiveness, and love I can not recommend this book highly as it brings one a world of peacefulness, tears, love, and the telling of a story that moves one s heart and soul Thank you to Robert Dugoni for writing such a extraordinary book and to Lake Union and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. 4.25 Amazing and Brilliant Stars rounded down I ve had The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell on my Audible Shelf for than 6 months now, ever since I saw some pretty extraordinary reviews from some of my Goodreads friends I m not sure what took me so long to listen to it Whatever the reason, let me just say that I am so glad I finally got around to it From the first paragraph to the last, I experienced fits of laughter and tears Sam, you have my heart.When Sam was born, the first words his father exclaimed were, What in Sam Hell and that for the most part, became his moniker You see, Sam was born with a very rare condition Ocular Albinism which is a genetic condition that primarily affects the eyes reducing the coloring of the Iris, which in turn gave Sam red eyes As a child, he was called Devil Boy Darn bullies While his mother fought long and hard for Sam to be treated like everyone else, it just doesn t work that way There was one bully in particular who made Sam s life absolutely horrendous David Bateman There was also one friend he was only African American in Sam s class , who made everything ok Ernie Cantwell Then, someone else came along Mickey Kennedy She was a tough cookie who never took crap from anyone Together, the three of them triumphed over all.As an adult, Sam still had to battle his inner demons as well those bullies who never truly went away With the help of family and friends, love and support, he learns that life is indeed extraordinary For me, this was a book that touched my heart, and I felt it deep within I loved it it desperately Sam s heart was on full display throughout He is the kind of character who sticks with you long after you finish the final chapter The author, Robert Dugoni s inspiration for this story was extremely touching and I enjoyed reading about it If you haven t read this, I highly recommend it for its heartfelt, touching nature and its unique storyline Thank you to all of my Goodreads friends who read this and convinced me to get it I m so glad I finally gave it a listen Thank you also to Audible Published on Goodreads on 12.18.18.
- 448 pages
- The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
- Robert Dugoni
- 05 March 2019 Robert Dugoni