The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s coming-of-age story is, according to Booklist, “a novel that, if it doesn’t cross entirely over into John Irving territory, certainly nestles in close to the border.”
Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” 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.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 41 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||April 24 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #78 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2 in Coming of Age Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#5 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#137 in Coming of Age Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from Canada
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Great storyline and structure, with very short chapters that were absolutely engaging.
It’s full of heart. It’s not flawless, but I was completely immersed in the story.
The ending, although cheesy, was very touching. I was reading the last 16% in the subway, riding to work, and I had to hold back my tears. Had I been home I would have bawled.
Top reviews from other countries
Anyway, I was very moved by this sensitively told tale about an American boy who is born with red eyes. As you would expect, his unusual appearance provokes major issues for him, particularly as a child. The story is actually told by the grown-up Samuel Hill. He starts from when he is a baby, and relates his Mum and Dad's recollections, his Mum's scrap-book diaries, family photographs, home movies, and his own memories to brilliantly flesh out his formative, and then later years. This really is writing of the highest order, and put me through a gamut of emotions as I slowly got to 'know' Sam and 'witness' the trials and tribulations that beset him throughout his life. I rarely succumb to tears when reading a novel, but I couldn't control shedding a few with this book. To redress the balance though, there is a fair degree of humour woven throughout this wonderful story.
I loved every moment I spent with this book and, in a way, was sorry to turn that very last page. This is one of those books that once in a while will come your way - and at such times, you need to give it the respect it deserves. So, if possible, find the time, the space, and the solitude to fully savour its contents - a comfy armchair, a large plate of biscuits, and a mug of freshly-brewed tea may also enhance the experience! I can't praise it enough. My advice: get you hands on a copy ASAP, read it, digest in and feel enriched by the experience.
I love 'spreading the word' after I've found a 'standout piece of fiction' which this most certainly is. On that note, if you have found my review of use, please feel free to hit that 'Helpful' button below. Such a positive gesture will not only make my day, it'll also remind me that people out there are actually reading what I post! - many thanks & enjoy your reading. 😊📖📚
as an ophthalmologist I am having to maintain a rather significant suspension of disbelief. There is no indication that Sam's ocular albinism affects his vision in any way - he apparently sees well enough to be an ophthalmologist, which is a highly unlikely event. This means that the novel deals with the social effects of someone who has red eyes, but not the reality of living with a disease which would certainly affect the patient's light sensitivity, vision and visual experiences.
To add insult to injury, the description of leaving a patient with a retinal detachment for a couple of weeks, when she should have surgery the same day, again demonstrates the lack of a knowledgeable medical advisor.
These factual errors don't ruin the story, but they did make it less believable and enjoyable for me.
We're used to tales of prejudice based on race, religion, disability, sexuality etc, but this book takes on unfair treatment of a boy for his eye colour and works as a bit of a morality tale.
This book is about the power of friendship between Sam and his best friends Ernie, the only black kid in school, and Mickie, the daughter of an alcoholic mother, and also a story of family love. Sam's mother is a wonderful, powerful, deeply religious woman who just won't take no for an answer.
The extraordinary life of the title is a life that's perhaps more extraordinary in its apparent ordinariness. A life made special by the attitude of its protagonist.
I enjoyed this a lot. Small town life with big time messages. Though I could have done with a bit less of the slightly preachy Catholic messages towards the end.