Sam Hill, the narrator of this coming-of-age story, is born with a “condition” that causes him to be bullied and called “Devil Boy” by classmates and by the school principal at his Catholic school. Luckily, his mother is his champion and he is befriended by two other outcasts. Throughout his life, those critical connections help him grow into the extraordinary person he becomes.
Author Robert Dugoni is a master at putting the reader not only in the scene, but inside the head and heart of Sam as a little boy, a teenager, and finally a man. I began to think that Sam was a bit too good, too wise, and too noble at too young an age. Perhaps too fearful. But Sam goes through and grows through some triumphs and tragedies along the way. The author tied up all the loose ends of the story in a most satisfying—if perhaps predictable–way. Recommend.
Here are a few clips you might enjoy:
“Life is either a collision of random events, like billiard balls during a break careening off and into one another, or if you are so inclined to believe, our predetermined fate—that my mother took such great comfort in and called God’s will. “
“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.”
“Time is wicked. It comes and goes like a thief in the night, stealing our youth, our beauty, and our bodies.” I had watched Grandma O’Malley, a proud and simple woman, shrink and wrinkly and turn white over the years. But we expect that of our grandparents. Not our parents. For some reason, we think our parents will never grow old, perhaps because when they do, we are forced to acknowledge that we will one day grow old, and we face our own mortality.”