I received this book courtesy of Mr. Cole for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Overview: Let’s meet Samuel Henry Hay, a poor boy from one of the unsavory towns in England. But, he has a plan. He is going to America as an exchange student. His host family won’t know what hit them. After all they aren’t expecting him to play them for all that they are worth. Methinks someone should have warned him about the country he was moving to.
Story Telling: Mr. Cole took an interesting path with this slice-of-life/coming-of-age novel. Sam has definitely given me something to think about. The small city/town life was well fleshed out, all the way to the unabashed gossip. A warning: this is a long book. (It comes really close to ‘War and Peace’ length.) Be ready for that one.
Likes: For the most part, it was the minor characters that made this story for me. Shauna definitely has good tastes. Who can go wrong wit George Strait? (Hey Sam? Not many will admit to listening to country in school.) Clyde and Bonnie Turner are some cool. I wish I could see their farm. It was a great growing point for Sam to have tried to help Heather.
Dislikes: Okay, this might be a little long. For starters, I accept that Jill is supposed to be a sympathetic character. She didn’t do a good job for my tastes. She knew what Donna Turner was like. Jill saw how domineering Donna was and where her priorities lay. Yet, with all of this knowledge, Jill doesn’t let loose her anger on Donna. Family honor for her sister’s heartbreak insists that she lays her rage on the head of the insecure, fifteen-year-old, former friend Heather. How many fifteen-year-olds are actually strong enough to face someone like Donna? Jill was wrong. Sam had more sympathy for Heather, and they despised each other.
Speaking of Donna, I have but one message for her. You aren’t a victim; you’re a dictator. Allow me to dip into my southern roots. It ain’t all about you. Donna and Neal got married for the wrong reasons. There was always adoption. Heather didn’t destroy her parents’ lives. Their choices did that.
You hear that Paul, Chelsea, and James? Your choices matter. It is too easy to blame someone else for all of your troubles. No amount of showing someone love will fix what is wrong with him or her. Paul was an obsessive personality. That is never good for a relationship, just ask any woman in a shelter. By the way Chelsea…women don’t even understand women. Sorry, that’s just how it goes.
Favorite Character: Um, this would have to be Clyde Turner. He took Sam horseback riding.
Favorite Quote: Clyde so has it right here. “That’s all you can do to stop wild animals from attackin you.”
Favorite Scene: Well I particularly enjoyed the time that Sam spent in Comfort. That was beautiful.
Conclusion: The story was okay. Paul ruined it for me. Well, the way everyone seemed to view Paul and the innocent angel, that is. Also the length of the book, as well as some of the situations that Sam found himself in, made it so that I am uncomfortable reading this one to/with anyone.