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The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

A book about the importance of family and friendships and

faith and fate.



The hospital staff was shocked when they look into the newborn eyes of Sam Hill. His pupils were red. His mother called it “God’s Will” but his classmates called him the “Devil Boy.” Sam only survived the bullying in his parochial school education with the unwaiving support and encouragement of his faith-filled mother and his two best friends.

Ernie Cantwell, was the only African American kid in his class, and was just the friend Sam desperately needed. The audacious Mickie Kennedy was tough and she managed to escort Sam through the morass of socially awkward high school events.

Forty years later, Sam is a small-town eye doctor. When tragedy strikes close to home, Sam makes a dramatic life-changing decision. Sam leaves his friends behind and changes the of course his life and becomes the man his mother always knew he would be.

“...we live for the quiet, intimate moments that mark not our calendars but our hearts.”


THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL is a tight, clever and satisfying book. It’s a book about the importance of family and friendships and faith and fate. It’s a captivating depiction of Sam’s transformative life experiences, including repetitive bullying.

Author Robert Dugoni writing is engaging. You can’t help but feel a wide array of emotions, from sadness and anger to indignation and inspiration. The characters particularly, Sam’s mother, his best friends Ernie and Mickie and even Our Lady of Mercy, Sister Beatrice were delightfully well developed. These people made the story come alive on the page.

Dugoni’s story, which came about from reading a newspaper article about a young boy with red eyes denied Catholic school admission in Australia, is a master encapsulation of bullying and the effect it has on victims, and others. Dugoni’s inspiration for the story was his mother faith and her advocacy for Dugoni’s younger brother who was born with Down’s Syndrome.

Robert Dugoni is the bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 7 million books worldwide. The film rights for THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL have been purchased for adaptation into a major motion picture.

“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.”

Publisher Lake Union

Published April 24, 2018

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