All Families Are Different

Welcome to the merry month of May.  Flowers and trees are starting to show their best.  A favorite month of mine and I hope yours too.  A perfect time to sit outside and enjoy a book.  Write My Name Across the Sky (2021) by Barbara O’Neal is a story of three creative women and family secrets. Their stories are told through each woman’s point of view which begins with Aunt Gloria.

During the 1960s Aunt Gloria was a TWA flight attendant.  She has seen the world and experienced the glamour of that era of travel.  She is now 74 and has kept secrets to herself for 50 years.  Those secrets involve the man, Isaak, who she has loved since all those years ago.

Gloria had a daughter Billie, who was a very famous rock star.  Her life was cut short when she died of an overdose in the 70s.  Billie’s daughters, Willow and Samantha, were then raised by Gloria.  The three of them live in the posh NYC apartment that was left to the girls when their mom died.

For Willow, the youngest at 35, music comes first in her life.  She is not trying to walk in the footsteps of her mother.  Willow leans towards a much different style…folk music.   She performs using her electronic violin and is quite good.  She recently put out an album.  Unfortunately, the album did not do well since there is not a big audience for her style of music.

Elder sister Samantha,40, is very intelligent.  If you were to see her on the street, you might suppose she is a model since she stands at 5’11”.  She is not.  Samantha is one of the first women to own her own video game company and her first game sold like gangbusters.  She is not a social butterfly, has very strong opinions, and a sharp tongue.

Write My Name Across the Sky moves along quickly.  Any questions that pop up in your mind will be answered by the time you turn the last page.

I enjoyed this read once I connected with the three women.  I had to go back to the beginning a couple of times until I had them straight in my head.  Not the author’s fault.  It was all mine.  Each are very creative in their areas.  They have their own thoughts, loves, and secrets.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell (2020) by Robert Dugoni (2020) proved to be a most interesting story for me.  I hope you enjoy it.

“Mostly, I wanted to believe that I was fated to live the extraordinary life my mother believed I was destined for, the life my mother so ardently believed I was destined for, the life she dutifully prayed for each night…”.  Sam Hell looking over his life in his 40s.”

Readers you will meet Samuel James Hill at his birth.  It was when Sam opened his eyes to the world outside his mother that his life really began.  Sam appeared perfect in every way until he opened his eyes.  They were red…ocular albinism became part of his everyday life.

Once you begin reading, you may not want to put the book down, especially once Sam begins school…a place where Sam no longer had the daily oversight of his mother. After a meeting with the principal and six-year-old Sam’s enrollment in 1st grade was secured, his life took on a whole new dimension as he walked into Classroom 1B.

Sam survives the first week entirely alone at lunch, on the bleachers, as well as the playground.  The second week of school he meets Ernie, a new kid who also stands out as being different.  Ernie is the only black kid in the school.

David Bateman and buddies, the school bullies, could not leave well enough alone when it came to these two first graders.  The first incident was far from the last conflict between David Bateman and Sam.

In middle school Sam meets the new girl, Mickie.   Rumor has it she apparently got into some kind of trouble in public school, so her parents enrolled her at OLM.  Mickie has issues right away with her looks, her clothing, and her comments. But

Mickie was not to be ignored.

The three became fast friends up through high school and beyond as you follow adult Sam’s looking back over his life.  For the longest time Sam thought he would never see the purpose of his red eyes.  But, that all changes.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is quite a story.  It is way more than a coming of age and friendship novel…it lasts into their adult lives.  It is about hope.

NB:  Be sure to read the Foreword and the Epilogue.

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