The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 May 2018

Member Reviews

Sam Hell was born with ocular albinism.  He was a preemie and was in a doctors office contemplating a vasectomy because his girlfriend, Eva, an Alaskan Airlines pilot didn't want kids.  Sam was called Devil Boy by his bully, David Freemon.  Ernie and Mickie become his best friends.  Sam is picked as a lector for his all school mass because his  
 classmates want to see him fail. 
 
 This was my first book by Mr. Dugoni.  i loved all the characters especially, Mickie, Sam, Ernie and many others.   i loved this book from the first page. It will certainly not be my last.
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Wow.  Can I just leave that one word?  Just wow.

When asked by Little Bird if I would like to review this book, I read the synopsis, said yes and knew it sounded interesting and like a decent book.  What I didn't expect was to cry at the ending and put the book down and say to my husband who was sitting next to me that I just finished my new favorite book of all time.  


The writing was so beautifully done.  The storyline was so beautifully done.  Everything was just so beautifully done.

This was one of those books that the story is going to stay with me long past reading. My husband, doesn't really read anything that I recommend, kept asking where I put this one becuase he...

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I’ve read several of Robert Dugoni’s novels, and enjoyed all of them, so when I was given the chance to read this novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, before it was actually released, I eagerly accepted.

As all the press about this novel is saying, it’s a departure from Dugoni’s usual fare. Rather than a mystery or thriller, this is a very personal coming-of-age novel that deals with friendship and love as well as the way different people experience ‘otherness’ whether it’s because they’re a girl, or have different skin color, or have oddly colored eyes.

As always, Dugoni’s use of language is what really caught me. Like Hemingway, he uses simple language, but it’s well chosen, and...

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At his birth, Sam Hill's mother predicts that he will have an extraordinary life due to his extraordinary condition but it doesn't feel that way to Sam when he starts at the local Catholic School and is called "Devil Boy" and nicknamed Sam Hell. Sam has bright red eyes from ocular albinism that cause everyone to stare at him and makes him a target for the school bully. Sam has a protective and loving family who teach him to be resiliant and soon forms friends with Ernie, the only African American boy in school, and later Mickie, a rebellious tomboy, who both help him survive school. Sam's path will later cross again with his old school bully in adult life with...

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Sam Hill has ocular albinoism resulting in red eyes. This is what you think is the main point of the story. However, it is just the introduction to a wonderful story about Sam, his two best friends, dealing with being a child who is "different," family, coming of age, etc, etc, etc. The story is so well presented that the initial issue is forgotten. I thoroughly enjoyed the fierce friendship between Sam and Ernie. I loved the mental picture Mr. Dugoni presented of Mickie. We all knew these kids growing up. Some of us were these kids.

This is a 4 or 5 star book depending on how you feel about Catholicism and religion in your books. I don't mind it and felt a tad nostalgic at...

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4.5 stars
It 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...

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Well written story about faith, friendship and overcoming bullying.   How much you like this will depend on how you feel about novels with a strong underlying religious tone.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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This was an accessible, competently written novel. I’m sure Robert Dugoni had the best intentions, obviously informed by his own convictions. I’m convinced that my own secular views are not to blame for my disenchantment with this novel. This reader enjoys reading novels with characters that are more realistic and nuanced and less melodrama.
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3.5 Stars

Norma and I started off in the extraordinary inspiring lush coulee reading The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and it started off strong for us and we both were drawn into this story right away. In the end, we ended up in separate coulees with the way we felt about this story.

There are many extraordinary things explored in this story like a Mother’s love and belief in just how extraordinary her son is and how our main character Sam HIll overcomes the many obstacles throughout his life from a young age. I loved Sam’s compassion and understanding and it was inspiring to read. We see the best and the worst in people and at times this story was heartbreaking and heartwarming with...

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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...

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A moving and thought provoking book, with a really heart warming feel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is a very enjoyable read. Sam is born with "ocular albinism", an incredibly rare condition that means the irises of his eyes are pinkish red in colour.. Deeply and sometimes fiercely loved by his parents, Sam , like anyone who is different, struggles to find friendship, or even acceptance from his peers, but when he does make friends, they will stick with him through thick and thin.
While the concept of the book really intrigued me, the first couple of chapters had me doubting that I would like the book as much as I ended up doing. The strong religious tones in The early...

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4.5 Extraordinary Stars!

THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL by ROBERT DUGONI is a touching, uplifting, heartwarming and an absolutely wonderful novel that had me totally engrossed and interested throughout this entire book. I was totally captivated and immersed with the voice of Sam and his story as he looks back on his life, making this novel extremely hard for me to put down. Sam totally touched my heart!

ROBERT DUGONI delivers an inspirational and beautifully written story here with wonderful characters and short chapters to make this a quick and easy read. The relationships, love and support that Sam had here with his family and friends is what makes this novel so special. Sam...

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Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this advanced eGalley of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.

Sam Hell was born with a rare eye condition: ocular albinism. Red eyes.

As a young boy, growing up in the late 60’s, attending a Catholic school (where his eyes invoke both fear and unwanted attention), he faces a number of challenges: bullying, ignorance, exclusion, and an overall sense that he is, somehow, completely unacceptable to the world in which he abides.

While he has the unwavering strength and advocacy of his mother to guide him through, he still encounters a lifetime of emotional and psychological pain.

He never truly feels at peace, nor is he confident that...

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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 book that when you finish them, you know in your heart that they will never leave you. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell was just so 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...

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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...

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This book brought out so many feeling in me and I'll be thinking about it for a very long time. It's such a different book from Dugoni's other books, which I enjoy and I enjoyed this one too, despite how different it is from his usual books. After I finished the book, the author tells us what led him to write this book and I appreciated getting to read his reasons, also.

Sam has so much, parents who love him unconditionally, two true, life long friends, the will and ability to excel in his studies, but he was born with eyes that were different and that sets him apart from "normal" kids. He has to deal with bullies, prejudices, the fear of those who can't...

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From the synopsis and the title of this book, I was looking forward to a tale of an extraordinary man doing extraordinary things. Robert Dugoni writes well, but the story never reached beyond the ordinary. The plot gimmick of ocular albinism which gave Sam his red eyes soon lost its capacity to astonish. Frankly when I researched further out of curiosity, I learned an individual with the lack of pigment required for ocular albinism would probably also have other physical characteristics that would set him apart. However that didn't seem to be the case in this story. Think average kid with red, rather than blue or brown irises.
There were several powerful forces driving the action in...

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I enjoyed several previous books written by Robert Dugoni, so I was excited to see he had written a new book. I wasn’t sure I would like it since it is very different from his typical mystery/thriller type books I have read. I kept casting this book aside, I stead reading my typical psychological thriller. I decided I wanted a change of pace and finally picked up Sam Hell. I was shocked how quickly I was sucked into the book, engaged in every word. Sam was born with a form of albinism that only effects his eyes making the red. As a kid, he is tormented by his classmates and physically assaulted by one child, David, in particular on multiple occasions. His mom Maddy insists on her son...

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Robert Dugoni’s latest novel is best described in one word “extraordinary”. “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell,” is a true work of art. This is a story of a boy with the faith and strength of his mother became an amazing man. Sam is born with a rare condition and no matter how many obstacles that were put in his path he persevered and kept a level of compassion that is a rare commodity. Mr. Dugoni is a master with words and he somehow puts them together to create a story that the reader soon finds themselves deeply entrenched. I bow to his greatness. I was given an advanced copy of this book, and all of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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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...

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