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I had, a little. Two of my best friends growing up had lived in Edinburgh and Glasgow. So it was definitely part of the allure of [ Outlander ], to be able to go back somewhere that was very close to home and similar to home, but maybe not quite home. And it did feel like that when I went back.

Obviously, Scotland and Ireland are so similar. So that felt really nourishing, I suppose, when I went back in the beginning. That I was reconnecting with my younger self and all of that, which was really nice. Yes, the countryside is so wild, and even with all that weather there is something really romantic about that.

And I grew up in the countryside, so I was always climbing trees or going off exploring with my brother or sister into the hills. So it did sort of have that romantic connection to my childhood. It has to have strong coffee and eggs somewhere in the mix. Ferrari , I pick books of that era, to imagine what the character would be reading at the time. Empty comment. You seem to be logged out.

Refresh your page, login and try again. Sorry, comments are currently closed. You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down. Leave A Comment Uh-oh! Use your Parade. Don't have an account? Sign up. Dugoni fast-forwards in alternating chapters to the present time of in Burlingame as Sam reaches adulthood and becomes a ophthalmologist in his private practice.

But it is in this profession that Sam will meet up with the ghosts of his past. You can't outrun the phantoms that lurk in the dark shadows And these phantoms now have the long bony reach that may grip others in a deadlock. Robert Dugoni has a special gift for lighting the candle of the human spirit. We've seen it in his other offerings as well.

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But this one has a unique touch of slowly unwinding the thread of childhood secured deftly by the spool of motherhood. You'll see it portrayed by the women in this story. And, to be sure, read Dugoni's Acknowledgements at the end. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Lake Union and to the very talented Robert Dugoni for the opportunity. View all 21 comments. Aug 01, Christine rated it it was amazing. I was looking for a good change-of-pace book from my usual thrillers and crime fiction. I wanted something easy to read, but with real depth and minimal gore.

My partner suggested this one. Thanks, Jean!

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Sam Hill was born with ocular albinism and red eyes. What an albatross for a young boy. And God has a plan for everyone. Sam has a tough time throughout much of his young life, but his prayers for help seem to go unnoticed, and he is not at all certain God cares whatsoever. This story encompasses a number of themes. These include bullying, deep friendship, wonderful parenting, the Catholic religion and its effect on its followers and previous followers, the institution of marriage, coming of age, grief, redemption, and forgiveness.

By the end, the thread holding it all together is evident. This novel is heartwarming and very emotive. The writing is simple, but the story is profound. I have now read two books in a row that made me cry. I strongly recommend this book to all readers. Sam Hill or Sam Hell or just plain Hell as he was also known is a character that will stay with me for a long time. It took many years for Robert Dugoni to bring this novel to fruition. Many thanks to him for his determination to get it delivered to his readers. View all 40 comments. Aug 09, Zoeytron rated it really liked it Shelves: public-library.

The cycle of life, ' The value of a true friend. I was taken with the pure love of Sam's parents for each other and for their boy, Sam. In their minds, those red eyes did not make Sam different, they made him extraordinary. And so he was. A bit saccharin for me before it was over, not my preferred flavor.

But it was well-written and a little different, and The cycle of life, ' But it was well-written and a little different, and I can't bring myself to give it less than 4 stars. View all 23 comments. Apr 16, Brenda - Traveling Sister rated it really liked it Shelves: traveling-sister-reads , netgalley. In the end, we ended up in separate coulees with the way we felt about this story.

We see the best and the worst in people and at times this story was heartbreaking and heartwarming with all the themes explored in this story, Where Norma and I ended up in different coulees was with the way we felt about this one was with the ending. I found it too gushy, sentimental and too forced. I was left in the soggy muddy coulee feeling unsatisfied and Norma was in the lush coulee feeling very satisfied. 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 he eventually finds a friend in Ernie, the only African 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 a protective and loving family who teach him to be resiliant and he eventually finds a friend in 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 serious results that throw him out of his hard won comfort zone and cause him to re-evaluate his life. This a character driven novel, with Sam's mother Madeline the star, staunchly religious, fearless of authority and fiercely protective of her only child. Sam's friends Ernie and Mickie are both non-conformers who don't fit in and don't see the need to, teaching him not to worry about what others think but to do what is right for him.

I found the fairly heavy Christian message of the ending a little overdone and unnecessary as I felt the message of good winning out over evil was already well enough implied. However others with a more religious leaning may enjoy the ending. Apart from that minor point, I did enjoy reading about the extraordinary life of Sam Hell.

View all 6 comments. Dec 05, Jane rated it really liked it Shelves: z , spiritual , that-ending-though , 1audio , gave-me-a-book-hangover , all-the-feels , audio-read , not-at-all-what-i-thought-it-was , oooh-this-was-fun , sooner-rather-than-later. This book sucked me in and put me through the wringer. I was fully invested in the story and characters, and I got a little overly bitter a few times when I was forced to put the book down to go do non-reading things.

The book alternates between brief snippets of Sam as an adult trying his best to navigate grown-up relationships, and longer sections telling the story of how Sam grew up. Born with 4. Born with ocular albinism, he struggled in childhood as children and adults alike ostracized him for his unique eyes.

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For me this read like a mash up of the movie A Christmas Story and a Fredrik Backman book with maybe just a tiny bit of Angela's Ashes mixed in. There was some silliness, but mostly this was a story told at a deliberate pace and in the end I realized how beautifully the threads of Sam's life had been woven together. I'm no prude, but this scene squicked me out. I suspect it had to do with listening to the story being told in the first person. I just really felt like some guy was detailing to me an encounter he'd had. It didn't fit the character to be relating such things to a stranger and it made me feel like I should leave the room or something.

Overall, though, this book got to me, and it stuck with me for days after. I loved listening to Sam's story, and I was right there in his world. A special thanks to Christine for her review that convinced me to bump this gem way up my TBR list! Don't let that cover scare you off! I thought for a long time that there was some supernatural element or something based on the cover, so I put this off when I ought not to have done so. I really don't think the cover does this book justice at all!

View all 22 comments. This one turned me to mush and made my eyes leak. While the characters were very religious, the story is not preachy. I felt it was more a story of faith, acceptance, and love. Sam certainly did have an extraordinary life. Very heartwarming! View all 14 comments. Jun 12, Mary Carrasco rated it it was amazing. Sam Hill was born with red eyes. His mother, a woman of deep faith, deemed him extraordinary and believed he would lead an extraordinary life.

Sam, however, felt anything but. He struggled to find meaning among the mishaps and tragedies throughout his life. I was immediately drawn into this story and some of the amazing characters. Sam's mom was my favorite. There were some really funny and also heartbreaking moments as well. This is definitely one of the best novels that I've read so far this ye Sam Hill was born with red eyes. This is definitely one of the best novels that I've read so far this year!

Mar 31, marilyn rated it it was amazing. 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 studi This book brought out so many feeling in me and I'll be thinking about it for a very long time.

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 deal with those who are different, while having a mom who knows he will be extraordinary.

Sam searches for why things are the way they are and his search leads him away from faith and towards faith. Family and friendship is so much a huge part of this book and while my heart hurt for Sam and others who are treated cruelly, I was also so aware of how much Sam had in his life. All that happens to Sam makes him the man he is at the end of the book.

I very much recommend this book. There is no middle ground. There are many things I loved about this book but my overwhelming response upon finishing it was Wow, this book was so refreshing! I can't recall the last time I read a book centered around a likable protagonist with an amazing and supportive family. That's not to say that there wasn't plenty of adversity. To be sure, there was. In fact, this book covered a great many weighty topics including bullying, racism, domestic abuse, and child abuse.


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These topics were addressed, however, with sensitivity and in such a way as to convey hope and a sense of justice in most cases. What really stuck with me is how he managed to give us an understanding of how even the most unlikable characters became the way they are without excusing their behavior. Sam's friends Mickey and Ernie were quite lovable and a beautiful reminder that our circle does not need to be large to be full. As for his parents, I can only say that everyone should have parents like Sam's.

Another refreshing and interesting aspect of this book was the role of religion. Sam's mother is a devout, walk-the-walk Catholic who isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with the intimidating Sister Beatrice at Our Lady of Mercy. I loved her for that. She was decidedly not, as his father would have called it, a "Christmas Catholic". She was the real deal.

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While the church was not made out to be perfect, neither were it's faults gratuitously sensationalized. I found Sam's struggle with his religious beliefs to be very realistic. And while religion plays a role in the book, it's never, ever preachy. The audiobook was performed by the author and he did a fabulous job bringing the characters and story to life. In fact, I'm rather glad I listened to this one. I think I may have had an even better experience than if I'd read it.

I haven't read Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite series but I would definitely read his work in the future. Jun 28, Beverly rated it liked it Shelves: coming-of-age-novel. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This started off with a bang and I was fully engaged with Sam and his wonderful parents.

I had never heard of his eye condition before and I thought the author did a great job of making us care for him and his troubles. The prejudice that a boy with red eyes would face in a Catholic school is tremendous. The middle part was good too, but the book started to drain me of my interest when it got to be such a prolonged, dragged out and sentimental ending.

I felt much more could have been accomplishe This started off with a bang and I was fully engaged with Sam and his wonderful parents. I felt much more could have been accomplished with the story of his childhood bully coming back into his life, instead this is quickly glossed over. Then the story goes way over the top in believability, ending up in Lourdes with his dying parents. It felt a bit too much and I don't understand why Sam couldn't have had his epiphany at home. View all 4 comments. May 19, Emma rated it it was amazing. It is about how a life well lived, with love, is an extraordinary thing in and of itself.

It is a story of a boy becoming a man, about self regard, about friendship. The closing chapters brought a tear of two to my eye. I found this an inspiring read, with many lessons that I could learn from myself.

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Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book. All opinions are my own. Loved this. Was a 5 star book for me all the way until near the end where it just fell apart a little and took things too far for me. Sam Hill is born with red eyes, which will always make him different.


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Born in the 60s when different is always considered with suspicion, he finds himself an outsider in school growing up. A girl more comfortable in the company of boys than girls. The book follows the three through their lives and their longstanding friendships together, jumping back and forward between present day and the past. Sams life is heavily imfluenced by his parents and especially his mother who is a devout catholic and prays and says the rosary every day. She tells Sam that it is gods will that he was born with red eyes and that god has a plan for him and he will have an extraordinary life.

The book is heavily influenced by religion and the mothers strong beliefs and the trials and tribulations that Sam faces are in large metaphors of the catholic teaching and the battles of good versus evil. The book is fantastically readable. I absolutely loved it for the most part. Sams life and his escapades had me hooked from the start and it was one of those books that I found hard to put down.

I was totally drawn into his world and the characters he encountered. So many well written and memorable ones. The past and present chapters are judged beautifully and the story elevoves fantastically. The more I read the more I thought it was one of my favourite reads in a very long time. A certain and easy 5 star review. Unfortunately the final few chapters let the book down for me as we go full on religious with some utterly bizarre goings on.

The book goes from having a religious undertone that can be enjoyable for all with a beautifully told story. A story that can lean on religious beliefs and use them subtley to tell the story and the belief in good, to going totally off piste and blugening you over the head with religious rhetoric, near miracle happenings etc. It just felt so out of character for the book and the story, despite the religious tone throughout.

It felt extremely clumsy and not quite like the same book at all and took the shine off what had been a fantastic read.


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Would I recommend this book? Despite all that I really loved this book overall. It was a compelling read, beautifully written for the most part and enthralled me. Ever cool and striking, she wore lace-up combat boots; jeans; a black vest and jacket, likely by another longtime friend Ann Demeulemeester ; a T-shirt that seemed to bear splotches of black ink. Her long silver hair occasionally reflected the light of the chandeliers.

All of this was unbeknownst to Smith, then a relatively new arrival from South Jersey, tough but still starry-eyed. I thought I could help him be all he could be! The song is from her album, Gone , written after Smith endured some of her keenest losses: Robert Mapplethorpe; her husband, Fred Smith.

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But before the Nobel audience in Sweden, and in Brooklyn last night, the pause comes across not as a mistake but as an acknowledgment of loss, a kind of heart stop, a profound and necessary interruption. Many of you were his family, his friends. The last section Smith read aloud came from The One Inside , a memory of a skinny barefoot kid running with the cattle and a piebald colt in South Dakota.

Should I go the length of a river? Speak in Low Voices , a wooden sign outside the chapel had discreetly admonished parishioners and guests.