Monday, March 14, 2011
The Samaritan by Fred Venturini
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Dale Sampson is a nobody. A small town geek who lives in the shadow of his best friend, the high school baseball star, it takes him years to even gather the courage to actually talk to a girl. It doesn’t go well. Then, just when he thinks there’s a glimmer of hope for his love life, he loses everything.
When Dale runs into the twin sister of the girl he loved and lost, he finds his calling–he will become a samaritan. Determined to rescue her from a violent marriage, and redeem himself in the process, he decides to use the only “weapon” he has–besides a toaster. His weapon, the inexplicable ability to regenerate injured body parts, leads him to fame and fortune as the star of a blockbuster TV reality show where he learns that being The Samaritan is a heartbreaking affair. Especially when the one person you want to save doesn’t want saving.
I finished this book a few days ago and I'm still not sure what to make of it. Other than most of the crappy music that comes out these days, there isn't much that makes me feel old. I mean I'm only 35, 36 in August, so other than the occasional backache, there isn't much that does it to me. This book though, made me feel ancient.
The entire time I was reading, which I did enjoy, I felt like there was something I just wasn't getting. I don't feel like that very often so when I do, I feel as if I'm either too old to get it, or just not smart enough to understand the point behind the story. It's not even that long of a book, less than 200 hundred pages, I was that I think the author had a point of view he was trying to get across, and I missed it.
Dale is one of those characters that you don't like from the get go, but you still end up siding with. He's a longer, mainly because of his own issues, so his people skills suck. In his defense, he does have a horrific experience to deal with, one that I'm not sure many people would be able to get over, which causes him to be even more messed up in the head. Between his natural inclination and that night in high school, Dale is a deeply damaged individual. It's that damage that sucks you into his life and sort of makes you care for him, despite your first impression of him.
After graduation, he sort of floats through life without putting any effort into it at all. That chance encounter with the twin sister of his lost love though, sends him into a tailspin. He starts stalking her, beating up her abusive husband, and convincing himself that he can save her. Who the hell cares that she had no desire to be saved. Incident after incident, some of them fairly violent, leads him down the road of exploiting his ability to regrow almost any body part. An ability he discovered after the happening in high school. It's through that exploitation that everything comes to a head and Dale is forced to grow up, even if it's only a little bit.
This is where I feel as if the book had a message to get across to the reader. It's here, when Dale is at his most delusional, that I feel the author was tyring to get a message across. I'm still not sure what that message was, for that matter I can't even tell you there was a message. This is the section of the book, for me, that everything started to go over my head. Not in comprehension of the story, because I understood that. I knew what was happening, who was doing it, and their motivations for doing it. What I didn't understand, was the "Why" these things were happening. I didn't get the point of the book, what the author was trying to express. Maybe I'm looking for something that wasn't there. Maybe the book was just supposed to be a fun read. If that's the case, the book was terrific. If not, then I'm sorry to say I missed it somehow and I probably won't look for it anytime soon.
I would like to thank Lisa of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. You can find out more about the author and other opinions on this by visiting the tour page.