Cover Image: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

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Samuel Hawley is on the run, and he has his daughter Loo with him. His daughter Loo, and his arsenal of guns and rifles, which he teaches her to clean and fire. They move around a lot, then finally stop moving when he returns to the town where he met Loo's mother Lily and where her mother still lives.

Gradually we learn the story of Samuel and Lily, their love, and what happened to Lily. The framing device is the twelve gunshot wounds on his body. We learn how he received each wound, and in the telling, we learn his backstory. We learn just how much he loved Lily and loves Loo, to the point of being willing to sacrifice everything for her.

This is one of those books that I slowed down as I read it, sometimes only reading a paragraph before I moved on. If I read it slowly, it would last longer. Unfortunately, it came to an end, and I wanted to grab the author and shake a few more chapters out of her. I hope it doesn't take so long for the next book.
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Cats have 9 lives, but Samuel Hawley has been blessed with 12! “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti is the story of Samuel Hawley, his daughter Loo, and the people who interact with them throughout their lives. It is the tale of a lawless father and his attempts to keep those he loves safe. Sometimes he is successful… sometimes he is not.

Hawley and Loo move around a lot to random destinations. They only stay somewhere six months to a year.  On Loo’s eleventh birthday, Samuel decides to take Loo someplace where she “won’t have to play alone”. This time, though, they return to Olympus, Massachusetts; her mother’s hometown. Loo’s grandmother still lives there.

We soon find out that Hawley has trouble reigning in his temper. We get a feel for why they may have spent Loo’s life running. 

Samuel always had one gun on him and several more within arm’s length. He taught Loo how to shoot at twelve so it seems normal for her to be around guns. They are her friends. She is comfortable with them; she is not so comfortable with her anger. Mixed with her teenage hormones, she often reacts badly confronted by bullies.

I love the way the author switches from the present and Loo’s perspective to the past. Chapters alternate with “Bullet Number One” and so on to tell Hawley’s past, why he is running, and why he loves and protects his daughter so desperately!

As the book progresses, so does Loo’s life. For the most part, she is a loner. However, she finds love. Her attempts to maintain that relationship are frantic and pitiful. She is as strong a lover as her father. He sets up a sort of altar (in the bathroom) to her dead mother everywhere they call home. The explanation of this towards the end of the book is absolutely heartbreaking. It  will rip open a wound in everyone who has lost someone they desperately love with the hope that they will look up and see their loved one turn the corner.

Super read; satisfying ending!

Release/Publication Date:  March 28, 2017

Genre:  Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Coming of Age, 

Cover: OK.

Source: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you!

Rating: 4.5 stars (rounding to 5)
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This novel was worth reading and is good but for some reason it left me wanting more. The coming of age angle is one of my favorites and done well so Loo's chapters were my favorites. The flip side is I'm not into the criminal life action side of the book and I never felt like Hawley was well developed, and that's where I was left wanting more. I'm going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, I guess I'll say it's 3 1/2 stars. 

I'm glad I read this one I just can't be too enthusiastic recommending it to friends.
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Wow. I LOVED this book. Focusing on the flawed central character of Samuel Hawley, an enigmatic man peppered with scars, whose world revolves around his daughter and who earns a living through mostly nefarious means, as they move from motel to motel around America.
Determined to give his teenage daughter a more normal upbringing, he returns to his deceased wife's hometown and tries to set down roots and transform into an upstanding member of the community, however his old life keeps coming back to haunt him
Meanwhile, his daughter Loo, decides to dig into her family history, learning more about her mother, and with it the history of the scars that mark her father's body - each of them the result of a bullet taken during his criminal career.
An incredibly beautifully written story, combining the grit of the murky underworld that Samuel inhabits, with the purity of his love for his precious daughter and late wife, with truly wonderful results. This is one of those books that you never want to end. One of those books that has you staying up way too late as the dramatic denouement starts to reveal itself, as you won't be able to sleep without knowing what happens to the characters that you've grown to love. One of those books that shows the inherent good in people that society has turned its back on. One of those books that you'll be buying multiple copies of and giving to your friends saying "you need to read this, it's SO good".
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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti is a story told in alternating chapters of a man coming to terms with his past and his daughter coming of age despite that past. The writing and phrasing of the book is beautiful at times. However, overall, because of the violence in both Samuel's and Loo's story and because of the distance between their stories, I am not the reader for this book.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed for NetGalley
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Overall, I have pretty mixed feelings about this novel. I never really fell in love with the characters, but I felt that I had to see how the story ended. I wanted to know what happened to Loo's mother and why Hawley was such a bad father, but Loo was so loyal to him. Once I hit the halfway point, I had hoped I would like the characters more, but they still seemed too obscure for me to really understand them. Even though there are several chapters that go into the backstory of each bullet, I still felt as though I hardly knew Hawley and that he had very little character development from his criminal past-self. I was intrigued by the mystery, and so I stuck it out until the end. This is mainly a story about family loyalty above all else, but I never felt like I bought into most of it. I could understand being loyal to those who love you and who raised you, but there was an emotional detachment in Hawley that made him seem too cold to even be capable of real parental love. He was a rough man, who was really only present in his daughter's life when she was causing trouble. And then when he rescued Loo from trouble, he taught her how to hot-wire cars or shoot an automatic rifle.

All of this said, I gave it a decent star rating, becuase I thought it was well written and planned out (albeit slightly wordy at some points in my opinion). I personally didn't need such detailed descriptions of each character that ever came up in the whole novel, but I can't judge too harshly on that.

My rating: 3 starsRead more…

Loo: Loo had a pretty uncommon childhood with a father that was constantly running from his own past. I didn't really like Loo, pretty much ever. She was selfish and lacked any kind of empathy. I know that this was a representation of how she was raised. Hawley was a rough x-criminal/hit man (I really don't know what to call him) and so he was not the best father. Whatever. But I hated the way Loo acted around her peers in school. That she thought it was okay to break people's noses and fingers. Yes, she was being bullied, but no, she didn't have to almost kill people with a rock in a sock or steel-toed boots to get revenge. It's hard to really express my thoughts here but she was a frustrating character. The only time we ever really see her express emotion is with her boyfriend.Loo and Marshall were the quintessential high school couple. They got together, got into trouble together, but in the end, they had choose whether to be loyal to each other or their families. Marshall chose to help his mom, and it crush Loo but she stayed by her father's side too.  She did have that obsession with stars and astronomy that helped her save her father. I was glad that all the buildup about her studying her mother's planisphere and and the books she had read about the stars helped her to get back to shore when her father was dying. At least that was kind of full circle.

Hawley: kinda wish he'd just died at the end. The whole thing was pretty anti climactic. I thought for a bit that bullet number twelve was going to bring the story to a close and say that his twelfth life was his last etc. but it felt like an anticlimactic end. I'll insert here that I never liked Jove much, so I wasn't moved by his death. I felt that most of this novel was this way. There were plenty of scenes that were thrilling and suspenseful, but they always ended in plot convenience. I felt like several of those bullets should have killed him. You know, the one where he was out in the middle of nowhere Alaska and some old man just happened to stumble upon him. He would have been dead. The one where he could have drowned but Lily died instead. Dead. There was always some kind stranger to come help Hawley get to a hospital, or fix him up themselves. It was like they were all used to finding people shot and bleeding and took care of these things all the time.

Lily: It's really too bad she Lily died because I think she was my favorite character. She was reckless and rebellious against her upbringing, sure, but she was the only character that had any real humanity and empathy. She loved her daughter more than anything, and Hawley's demons killed her. She cared about Hawley too and wanted him to become better, which he sort of did while they were married but then he totally backslid and went back to the way he was before. He had no character development, while I think Lily—though her presence in the novel was brief—had tremendous development.

Mable ridge: Loo's grandmother is another character I liked, but I also sort of didn't like her. She is cold because of the way Hawley treated her. I get that. And I'm glad that she was eventually the person to put the pieces together for Loo and tell her that everything wasn't sunshine and roses with Hawley. He was a bad guy before, and he also abandoned his daughter for four years and conveniently took her back right before she started having real cognitive memories and would never have known he was gone at all. I suppose I just wish Mable Ridge had been less cold to Loo. Her granddaughter was not at fault for her father's actions, she hardly even knew about her family outside of Hawley at all. He blocked it all out of her life, but Mable Ridge insisted on taking out her anger on Loo until she finally told her the truth about what Hawley had done after Lily died.

I don't have much else to say. The plot was alright, but sometimes I lost track of the details because I was constantly being switched between past and present. I had a hard time remembering what had happened to each character and in what order.
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This book was a good read. I found myself surprisingly attached to the characters, even though they weren't people I might normally feel a connection to.
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I enjoyed the way the novel was cleverly constructed. The twelve bullet chapters, interspersed throughout, tell Hawley's past. (The author explains that each of those chapters contain a clock, a bullet, and a woman, exploring time, death, and love.) We slowly learn pieces of his life, as his daughter, Loo, is coming of age. Well done. Enjoyable read.
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What a fascinating read!   When Samuel Hawley moves to Olympus, MA, his late wife's hometown, with their daughter, Loo, the intrigue begins.  He gains employment as a fisherman and their life takes a turn.
The plot revolves around the title of his "twelve lives" and the bullets he sustains throughout.   What most emerges is his  deepening love for his daughter and the demand to do right by her.  
You can't put the book down and what stands out most is the complexity of his life.which extends to the complexity of all of our lives.
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I really expected more from this book.  Overall, it was an OK story, but very violent and not particularly compelling in the end.
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The alternating chapters and violence really took away from my enjoyment from the book. The premise on its' own seemed to be worthy of a better read.
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Thank you Netgalley for the chance to review this ARC of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley.

What an intricate, interesting tale.  An unlikely pair, Sam Hawley and his daughter Loo, do their best to get through life together, accepting the fact that they will always be running away from a life of crime.  

I loved the interesting dichotomy between Hawley and his daughter.  I also loved that Loo managed to figure out who she is while still adapting to her father's way of life.  The ending had me completely baffled and I demand answers!  

Worth the read,  but I was left perplexed quite a few times.
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What a book! Heart breaking.  So beautiful.

Highly recommend
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One of the more creative ways to tell a story that I've read in a long time. This is both a coming of age story for Loo and a trip into Sam's past. Just when you think you know his secrets, there's something more to tell.  I was particularly impressed with how Tinti drew things out and kept you eager for more.  Be aware that this moves back and forth in time, which I think adds to whole and which will periodically require you to reset your expectations and beliefs.  Samuel might have been a criminal but he surely loves his daughter.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  This one richly deserves its rave reviews.  Try it for something different.  I'm looking forward to more from Tinti.
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I tried to complete the novel, but after multiple failed attempts to get into the story, I'm going to bypass reviewing it. Sorry.
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Interesting life Samuel Hawley had. I especially liked his love he showed for his daughter and their many conflicts..
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The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley is an epic tale full of adventure, love, time and protection between a father and daughter. Hawley, a large and heavily scarred man, begs the reader to ask, “Can a bad man be a good person?” He’s got twelve bullet scars and his story unfolds as we learn the story of each bullet. Many of his stories have timepieces in them and it’s not lost on the reader that there are twelve bullets and twelve numbers on a clock.This is an ambitious way to tell a story but Tinti does it pure justice. She turns Hawley into a reluctant hero through his survival and his ultimate protection of his daughter Loo.

As we are puzzling out Hawley’s stories, we’re also given a present day look into Loo’s life after too many moves, no real friends and a traveling bathroom shrine to honor her dead mother. In her chapters we see how Hawley takes care of her and in each chapter she learns something new. She learns to shoot, roll cigarettes, hot wire a car, kiss and more. This sounds disturbing but it comes off as meaningful and important to the story.

There are many references to Hercules and mythology. If you recall, Hercules had to do Twelve Labors in penance for killing his wife and family. Although he did evil things, he’ll always be remembered for being a heroic figure. Hawley too had twelve bullets but will be remembered as a hero. Finally, this book is set in Olympus, Massachusetts and Hercules also ended up in Olympus, well, Mt. Olympus.

Quotes I liked:

Love isn’t about keeping promises. It’s about knowing someone better than anyone else.”

-“… he left the table and followed, as if she were a magnet drawing him away from his better judgment.”

-“You are not going to catch any goddamn fish today. You will go upstairs. You will put on a goddamn shirt. And then you will drive us to the goddamn church and get our daughter baptized.”
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Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC ebook for my Kindle.
This was a "rough" book about the relationship between a father and daughter. There was a lot of violence and profanity, and at best, their relationship was never really good for the daughter. Some mystery including what happened to the mother, but this book was a tough one to read; it's not for the faint at heart.
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I loved it. 

The relationship between Loo and Hawley was perfectly done. I love complicated characters (and people, too), and was rooting for them with all my heart.
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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is beautifully written, enjoyable and worthy of reading. It touches on a father and daughter’s fierce love, acceptance, sacrifice, and survival. Samuel Hawley is a shady individual, he has a bad temper, and is lawless. However, his love for his daughter Loo and deceased wife (Lily) is astronomic and immeasurable. Samuel has endured and survived twelve bullets throughout his criminal life, but Loo has no idea of the reasons behind them. As Loo gets older she begins to question their constant moves and complex life, including her mother’s mysterious death. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is about family, love, regrets, redemption, and forgiveness. Tinti is a fantastic storyteller who brings her characters to life, which stay with you long after you have finished reading the book.
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