Cover Image: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

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Member Reviews

I liked this book, more than most I have read lately. Samuel Hawley is trying hard to be a good dad, although he hasn't always been a good man. I like the set-up of the book, moving from present day to the past. Loo was a realistic teenager to me, being set apart because of the life she had led, but still starting to behave at times like a normal teenager. The language was descriptive, but without being overly so. This book has stayed with me.
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Loo and her father have a strange relationship that pulls them together, yet sets them at odds.  It's a complex plot that pulls the reader along to figure out how her father's twelve scars interact with their present lives.  Intriguing!
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This is a book about a career criminal and his young daughter and how throughout their life together he desperately tries to protect from his former life but it keeps catching up with them no matter what he tries.  The love and bond they share is beautiful and despite all that is thrown in their way they still cling to each other as though one cannot survive without the other.  The past and the present are interwoven with the recounting of the bullets he has received and how they appear to be landmarks in his life and all future decisions he makes.  Despite the violence throughout the book and especially the ending this is a book worth reading and was difficult to put down.
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Here's the thing about this book, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it. I didn't hate it but I didn't especially like it? I don't really have a strong opinion of this book. I found the story itself to be interesting enough to finish, but I wasn't exactly on the edge of my seat while reading. I wasn't as invested as I wish I had been. 

I did however like how this book has an almost episodic narrative. With each chapter alternating between Loo (present) and Hawley (past). I found Hawley's chapters to be particularly interesting, as each one tells the story of how he got each of his twelve bullet holes. 

The story was well written and engaging but overall this book just wasn't for me. I think maybe someone older and wiser would appreciate the book more than me. I would recommend it to readers who like character driven plots, family centered dramas or revenge stories as this book manages to be all three.
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I was privledged to receive an advanced readers copy of this gem of a novel.  I am a very selective reader and was blown away by this beautifully written book. I am going back to read it a second time because of the emotional impact of the first reading. This book has so many real life moments and lessons. So poignant and sad, I cried while reading during my commute. I am really looking forward to more from  Hannah Tinti. Well done.
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I loved the book, very well developed characters and strong relationships. An amazingly tight well written coming of age story, that had me thinking of my young days. Great read, will be looking for more from this author to read!  

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Also posted on my book review blog as of today (1/25/27).

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hannah Tanti, the author, and publishers at Dial Press.

Wow. I really liked this and the world Tanti created along with the characters. The readers aren't supposed to like them (I think) but that's what makes this a good read. Nothing is perfect but that's why I found Samuel Hawley and his daughter Loo to be interesting in their own right. 

Samuel has a violent past but is trying to raise his daughter Loo into adulthood the best he can despite also trying to hide his past from her. His past is lined out for us in chapters that describe different ways he received twelve shots. It's this way that we learn who is is and what he's capable of - there is no black and white answer if he is a good man or not (I like to think Tanti left that up to the reader's perception). Loo is also trying to navigate her own life - school, peers, the move back to her mothers hometown, her grandmother and trying to understand the kind of man her father is.

In the end I think readers should give this a go ahead on their reading lists because despite the violence it paints a realistic picture of flawed humanity and the love a father has for his daughter.
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A great read. Tinti brings us into the unusual lives of Samuel Hawley and his teen daughter Louise (Loo). Switching back and forth between the present day, and flashbacks to Samuel's previous adventures, keeps up a strong momentum throughout the book. I loved the juxtaposition between Hawley's violent past and Loo's coming of age story. 

I would recommend this to both adults and older teens, who would not be too put off by graphic depictions of violence. And people who like to read books set in Massachusetts (Like me!).
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Predict this will be one of the big books of 2017.
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I rarely do this but in addition to starting This Is How It Always Is, I began The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. Already only a few chapters in, this well-written story is interesting and I am wondering how it’s going to play out.

Samuel Hawley is a single father bringing up his daughter Loo. He has a sinister past which is traced in alternating chapters, explaining how he got each of the twelve bullet scars on his body. The story delves into his criminal activity, his love for Loo’s mother, and raising Loo. He wants to be good but the book asks the question- can a bad man be a good one too?

We see bits of Samuel in Loo, who is teased and bullied at school for being an outcast. When she takes matters into her own hands, it’s a violent and unremorseful act, an act much like something her father would do. The story veers a little into violence and within the first few pages, young Loo is shooting a gun and a little later in the book, Sam is beating someone up and Loo is attacking her tormentors at school- so this book may not be for those who dislike brutality.
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I feel like I stepped into some weird, uber violent twilight zone. It's like a father/daughter mashup combo of gratuitous violence, a la Natural Born Killers. It's not to say that the plot is similar to Natural Born Killers, because it's not. It's just the bizarre, nonsensical violence in frank, unyielding terms.

What is the point of violence just for the sake of it? I am in the target market for this book, so it would be unfair to say that the book isn't for me, because it's supposed to be.

The daughter's nonchalance and lack of conscience regarding her over-the-top violent escapades would lean toward sociopathy in real life, yet we have her dealing with the true nature of her father in a way that most people with a conscience would. That doesn't ring true imho. But if you like ultra-violent stories just for the sake of it (as many people do, and more power to them), then you might like this book. 

Thanks to netgalley.
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Thank You NetGalley for the free ARC. 

The Good Thief is one of my favorite books ever, so I was very much looking forward to this new book and I was not disappointed. 

Basically it is the story of Loo and her father Hawley. Hawley was not always an upstanding kind of guy,but he definitely is a good dad and tries to protect Loo the best he can. They moved around a lot and finally settled in her mother's home town. Mom has been dead for a while, but Hawley decorates the house with her artifacts ( in a sweet and creepy way) to remind himself and Loo. 

Hawley has bunches of shrapnel from bullets in him and there are chapters that tell how he got every one of them, hence the 12 lives. The chapters in between tell you about Loo's adventure of growing up - meeting her grandmother for the first time, beating up kids at school, etc.
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Loo and her father, Samuel, have never stayed in one place too long.  Until, that is, they reach Olympia.  During their time there, Loo comes of age and learns about the past of both of her parents.  Samuel has 12 scars from bullets and the reader learns, in alternating chapters, the stories behind each one as the novel unfolds.  An enjoyable novel that meditates on the "goodness" or "badness" of people.
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