the next good book

The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley

By Hannah Tinti


372 pages

What’s it about? Loo knows her father is different than most men.  Samuel Hawley is a loner with a criminal past.  He and Loo live on the run until Samuel finally decides to settle down in his late wife’s hometown.  He wants to give Loo a more normal life.  But will Samuel Hawley ever be able to out run his criminal past? What did it make me think about? This was another coming-of-age story but Loo’s life does not resemble most people’s.  The author uses flashbacks of each bullet wound on Samuel’s body to connect us to his past.  It was an interesting technique and it made for an interesting book. Should I read it? This was a good book, but just missed being a great book.  I did not always connect to the characters.   The problem was not that the characters had such a different life- but that the author often failed to connect us to them emotionally.   The author managed to keep us at a distance from most of the characters.  Rarely, and usually with Samuel, do we get to connect emotionally.  This disconnect kept me from rating the book higher.  Although I found myself rooting for Loo and Samuel it was not with the fervor I experience with some books.  However the writing is good,  the plot keeps moving along, and the characters are interesting- if not relatable.  Having written all that- the quote below should convince you this book is worth the time! Quote- “It was like looking in a mirror.  The same flickering hope in Loo, the same desperate need to be loved, was right here in Marshall’s mother.  And it was in Principal Gunderson, clutching Lily’s waist in that old prom photo.  And it was in Agnes, pressing her feet into the stirrups, listening for her child’s cry.  And it was in Hawley, mourning with his scraps of paper in the bathroom.  Their hearts were all cycling through the same madness- the discovery, the bliss, the loss, the despair- like planets taking in orbit around the sun.  Each containing their own unique gravity.  Their own force of attraction.  Drawing near and holding fast to whatever entered their own atmosphere.  Even Loo, penning her thousands of names way out at the edge of the universe, felt better knowing these others were traveling this same elliptical course, that they would sometimes cross paths, that they would love and lose love and recover from love and love again- because, if theywereall going in circles, and Loo was Pluto, then every 248 years even she would have the chance to be closer to the sun.”

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