The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

theextraordinarylifeofsamhellThe Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is a very touching, very engaging, coming-of-age story of a boy named Sam Hill who faced adversity all his life because he was born with ocular albinism which gave him red eyes. He was bullied and called Sam Hell or devil boy. Though he was bullied in school, he was very much protected by his mother, raised to be a real man by his father and was very much loved by his few friends.

Sam grew up from a religious family and he wanted to believe what his mom always tells him — that God made him extraordinary. He struggled to overcome his fears and the obstacles that come his way and he started questioning his faith.

The chapters were short and easy to read. The characters were remarkable. Sam’s mother was a very note-worthy character, a very important woman in his life. His father was the same. The friendships were also endearing, it would be very nice to have friends like them.

I absolutely loved this book. It was incredible. I can’t recommend it enough. This is my first Robert Dugoni experience and it certainly won’t be the last.

Quotable Quotes:

“There comes a day in every man’s life when he stops looking forward and starts looking back.”

“But to my mother—I suspect to all mothers—their little boys will always be their little boys, no matter how old those boys become.”

“Our skin, our hair, and our eyes are simply the shell that surrounds our soul, and our soul is who we are. What counts is on the inside.”

“We realize it is in those quiet moments that each of us has the ability to make our lives extraordinary.”

“Time is wicked. It comes and goes like a thief in the night, stealing our youth, our beauty, and our bodies.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

Short Story – The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu

This is the first short story I’ve read from Ken Liu and I loved it.

It’s a story about Jack, born to an American father and a Chinese mother. His mom made lots of origami animals for him when he was a kid. However, as he grows up, he found it hard to fit in where they live. An incident with a friend later caused him to distance himself from his mother until it became uncomfortable and they eventually stopped talking to each other. Soon his mom died but there was one surprise left for Jack…

laohu
Laohu – Jack’s favorite among the many origami animals his mom made for him.

In just a few pages, this story will really touch your heart. The ending was so sad and you will feel the regret the child must have felt. It kind of left my heart heavy but lots of things to reflect on.

Rating: 5/5 stars