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Book Review: The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell




The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell was written by Robert Dugoni and published by Lake Union Publishing in 2018. Purchase it on Amazon/Kindle and visit the author on Amazon.


This wonderful yet poignant story of life touches on all aspects of our journey. Sam Hill was born with red eyes, a condition referred to as ocular albinism. The kids in his school didn't empathize or relate to him as someone with a medical condition, they bullied and belittled him and called him "Devil Boy" or "Sam Hell". Sam's mother, who was a devout Catholic, encouraged her little boy, telling him he was "extraordinary" in God's eyes and that he should take comfort that his being different was "God's will". This was little comfort to Sam, who had to endure unrelenting abuse and isolation but somehow Sam persevered with his parents support and the friendships he developed with two other classmates, who were also seen as outcasts. Sam did believe that God sent his two friends, Ernie Cantwell and Mickie Kennedy to help him through those tough and torturous times. Ernie was the only African American kid in his class and Mickie was like a tornado, an amusing non-conformist who was determined to break every rule that she could get away with, even while attending a Catholic school. As Sam moves on through life he retains the friendships of Ernie and Mickie, sometimes at a distance, but he also continues to endure the uncomfortableness of others because of his red eyes. He soon moves away from his hometown and embarks on his own journey of discovery- traveling halfway around the world. He becomes an eye doctor and continues his pursuits of being successful in life but a bully from his past resurfaces and the abuse continues, not just for him but for others. It's up to Sam to find a way to justice and truth and this defines him in the later years of his life. This wonderful yet poignant story of life touches on all aspects of our journey: Love, racism, religion, poverty, wealth, justice, hate and health. It will make you laugh, cry and it will also shock you with its several surprise twists and turns. It has lessons to be learned as described here: "Tears welled in my mother’s eyes. I knew it hurt. Reality could be painful to acknowledge, but there came a point when we all realized we weren’t going to walk on the moon, star in a Hollywood movie, or be president of the United States. We’d be who we were, and we could either come to grips with this fact and like the person we’d become, or live with regret and disappointment." Sam Hill was an extraordinary character and so is this story. It's a must read!


I give The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell 5 out of 5 stars.

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