Book Rating (145)
Narrator Rating (33)

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Robert Dugoni

11 Hours 43 Minutes

Brilliance Audio

April 2018

Audio Book Summary

Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s coming-of-age story is, according to Booklist, “a novel that, if it doesn’t cross entirely over into John Irving territory, certainly nestles in close to the border.”

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design—especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he’d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open—bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.

Winner of Suspense Magazine’s Crimson Scribe Award.

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  • Cyn K.

    I tried. I really did. I kept thinking the story was going to deepen, that the stakes would rise, making my heart race. The title word " extraordinary" made me want to hang on. But halfway through I abandoned the book out of sheer boredom and the tedium of the storytelling. For the life of me, I can't figure out how this writer sells so many books. I don't want to berate him, because he's accomplished much that I haven't, but the prose is littered with cliches and never rises above a plodding storyline that, yes, outlines the literal and figurative bumps and bruises of Sam's life but that frankly, outside of his 'condition' isn't all that extraordinary in my opinion. He's bullied. He's ostracized. His parents are perfect. His friends have struggles. Nothing unlike what many of us experience in our lives. The story never rose above a level of plainness that in the end I could not rise above. Dugoni is not a literary writer, and I think that's what I'm more drawn to. Plus, as a reader, he doesn't enunciate very well and that wore on me too. Sorry to be such a downer. If every scene wasn't separated by a numeral it would help it not seem so episodic (imho).

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  • Pia T.

    I love this book. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I can relate to everything in this book! The author did a great job narrating the story.

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  • Karen Z.

    Delightful book. Not what I expected but I am close to the age of the main character and identified with many of the events and truly enjoyed his journey. Love this author and his narration was so fun to listen to.

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  • J R.

    Very good book, especially poignant after listening to the author's afterword. Author did a nice job reading.

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  • Cindy D.

    Love this book

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  • Anonymous

    This is a cute story, but it's predictable and hokey. There's nothing extraordinary about it. The narrator is very good.

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  • Nancy J T.

    The writing, I felt was a bit contrived. The author most definitely should NOT have narrated his own book. Poor narrating voice, and timbre. I would not recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I was glad I chose to read it. I think author really got the main character nailed down! Feel like author must of had personal experiences to draw on. Worth your time.

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  • Laura Kammerer

    Great book! Glad I read it.

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  • Mary F.

    Couldn’t stop listening! Amazing

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