Book review by Dinh.
The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni has recently become a popular read because of recommendations through word of mouth. It was published in 2019 and now lots of people are reading it and recommending it.
This is the first book I have read by Robert Dugoni so I didn’t know what to expect going in. He is known for his crime thrillers and is a prolific writer so I assume his writing would be good.
So did the book live up to the hype?
Yes, it did. I loved it! Definitely a great read.
Here’s why you should check it out.
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is a wonderful story!
This character driven coming of age story follows Sam from birth until he is in his forties.
Samuel Hill was born with ocular albinism, a genetic condition that affects the eyes making them red. Having red eyes meant that Sam stood out like a sore thumb. Inevitable, the school kids taunted him and called him “devil boy”.
Sam’s ‘condition’ as his mother calls it, meant that he endured being bullied and ostracized in his childhood. Sam’s life takes a turn for the better when he makes friends with Ernie Cantwell, the only black kid in the school. Later Mickie Kennedy also becomes friends with them.
One of the things I liked about this book is that it has short chapters. The book is written in an easy to read way, so with the short chapters, I was turning the pages quickly.
Dugoni does a great job in writing Sam’s life journey in only 428 pages! The was enough details to pull us into the story, to paint Sam’s life, and how he got to a certain point in his life. The balance between the pace of the story and the details was perfect.
I also liked that the story was told as Sam as a young person and Sam as an adult. The back and forth between the two time lines worked well and kept me interested.
Dugoni covers lots of themes in this book. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Sam, Ernie and Mickie. It really does show how the power of friendship can have life altering effects on someone. The trio relied on each other and the support they gave each other help shape their lives.
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I loved all the characters in the book. Each character was well developed and made an impact whether I liked them or not.
One of my favorite character was Sam’s mom. I loved how she was so fierce when it came to her son Sam. From the moment Sam was born she was there to protect and love him.
My favorite part of the book was when she enrolled him to Our Lady of Mercy school and he was denied admittance. She confronted Sister Beatrice, the school principal and took action to make sure Sam got into the school.
I enjoyed the ending although I did feel that it was rushed. Dugoni closed many loose ties which was nice as I like to know how things end with each person.
I loved the epilogue! There’s a nice surprise/twist that made my heart sing!
I loved that the book came full circle…like the circle of life.
My Final Thoughts
I loved The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hill! It was an engrossing book from start to finish. It was heartwarming and shows that even though life can be hard, with the help from friends and unconditional love from your parents, life can be extraordinary.
I highly recommend it!
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Belong to a book club? Check out The Extraordinary life of Sam Hell book club discussion questions.