“The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell” was another book recommended to me by a friend. First off, I did like this book. It tells the very timely story of Sam Hill, a boy born with a rare condition who spends his life fighting prejudice and extreme bullying. The book starts at Sam’s birth and ends when he is middle-aged. While Sam is a good guy, I found him to be almost too perfect. He always did what was right, whether that was befriending the only Black kid in school as a child or defending the honor of an abused wife and kid as an adult. He stood up to all the bad guys, whether they were a bully on the playground, a dirty cop, or an alcoholic nun. And of course, he became a doctor who volunteered his time helping orphans in Mexico. I write all this to say that while I liked Sam, I am drawn to more realistic characters, ones with flaws in their personalities who make mistakes but learn from them. And there were no mistakes for Sam to learn from here; he’s just a good kid who continues to overcome a physical “disability” and spends his life helping others to realize that it’s what’s inside that counts. This is a feel-good story that I did enjoy reading, but it wasn’t as meaty as some of the other books that I have enjoyed more.
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