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The Samaritan Hardcover – February 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Blank Slate Press; 1st edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982880618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982880616
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,944,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Reading this was like finding an autobiography I forgot I d written. Like Venturini had access to all my secret thoughts. It was strange and wonderful, and I d pay to do it again. --Stephen Graham Jones, author of It Came from Del Rio

Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page of The Samaritan. Stretching artfully from the shabbiness of life in a small Illinois town to the glitter and greed of Hollywood, this first novel about a shy, emotionally damaged loser with a bizarre but coveted ability to regenerate his vital parts is one of the most engaging and ultimately satisfying that I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. --Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff

A can t-get-laid coming-of-age tale takes a sharp turn into sci-fi territory when the main character, Dale Sampson, discovers he has the ability to regenerate his own organs and body parts. What ensues is much chopping off of fingers and toes, an obsessive romantic attachment to his dead girlfriend s twin sister, a mercenary relationship with a twisted doctor, and, ultimately, an Extreme Makeover-style reality television show in which Sampson donates organs to people in need. Author Fred Venturini keeps his focus on character development, so that Sampson seems real and probable. The Samaritan, the first book from Blank Slate Press, gives those of us who love well-crafted offbeat literature a reason to cheer. --Margareg Brown, Shelf Unbound

From the Back Cover

Dale Sampson is a nobody.  A small town geek with an ailing mother and a father who skipped town, Dale lives in the shadow of his best friend Mack, the high school baseball star.  While Mack racks up one female conquest after another, Dale can't even gather the courage to talk to a girl . . . and when he finally decides to take a chance, he loses everything. 

When he runs into the twin sister of the girl he loved and lost, Dale 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.  This weapon, the inexplicable ability to regrow his limbs and organs, leads him to fame and fortune as the star of a blockbuster TV reality show.  But he will soon learn that being a Samaritan can be a heartbreaking affair, especially when the one person he wants to save doesn't want saving. 

The Samaritan is a brutally funny look at the dark side of human nature, laying bare the raw emotions and disappointments of small town life and best friends, of school bullies and first loves, of ruthless profiteers and self-aggrandizing promoters--and of having everything you know about human worth and frailty questioned under the harsh klieg lights of fame. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
There are a few superficial parallels in terms of structure and characters.
Amazon Customer
The characters are engaging, the plot is layered, the story is imaginative and the writing is crisp and tight.
arzee
I quickly found myself enjoying the book and had a hard time putting it down.
MBuck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Covington on February 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The Samaritan is the story of Dale Sampson, an awkward, lonely, and loveless young man dealing with a life of tragedy while coming to terms with an unexplained power he discovers within himself. One part coming of age tale, one part twisted super hero-esque revenge drama, two parts Catcher in the Rye, The Samaritan does what too few novels these days are able - combine character and story into a thought provoking and highly entertaining read. Venturini has created a world that envelops, suspends disbelief, and most importantly rivets an emotional connection between character and reader. It's a gripping read.

The writing itself is great - concise and compact where it needs to be while still vividly descriptive when necessary. The voice of the main character is unique and heartbreaking, almost scary, and best of all, real. Oh so real.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The novel starts off with a junior high aged Dale playing a game of "Blind Man" with the popular girls. The girls blindfold him and walk him into things on the playground. Dale goes along with this deception simply because he can't believe he's actually captured their attention when he's usually invisible to everyone. When they decide to run him into the most popular boy in their grade, just to capture the baseball star's attention, their trick backfires when Mack takes Dale under his wing and dismisses the girls.

Both products of one parent families, Dale and Mack find they can lean on each other when times get tough. They are best friends from that first incident on the playground throughout the rest of their lives. Just when Dale finally gets up enough nerve to talk to a girl, who just might like him back no less, tragedy strikes in one of the most devestating ways possible. And not long after, Dale's life takes another turn for the worse, leaving him alone and forgotten with a special gift that only he and his mother know about: he can regrow his limbs.

But his best friend hasn't forgotten him, even though they've been separated for a few years after high school while Dale wallows in self pity and isolation and Mack works with his father. As he lives a lonely existence and hits his lowest, Dale encounters his potential old flame's twin sister. Upon discovering the spousal abuse she endures, Dale decides he must save her. And that's when the deadly toaster comes into play.

When Dale needs his friend the most after he's found himself in too deep, Mack comes running to the rescue after receiving a text message cry for help.
Read more ›
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By The Pampered Lamb on February 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Awesome. First word that comes to mind when I think about this book. The first 7 chapters were very real. And then the twist comes in Chapter 8. And you can't help but hold on for the ride. Here is a man who never was much growing up, and now he has learned that his body parts grow back at an astonishing rate. Fingers, ears, even tonsils. Now he feels invincible, will he finally be able to make a change in lives of people around him?

Fred Venturini did an amazing job grabbing the reader right from the beginning. Certainly not for the squeamish or the faint at heart, this book deals with everything from friendship to loss to loneliness. The writing is tight and the style is fluid. There is a sense of some Chuck Palahniuk which I enjoy reading. If you are into reading about what goes on in people's minds, this is the book for you.

Dale, while somewhat of a "loser" all this life, is extremely likable and relatable. Even with people around there are times when you can't help but feel lonely. As he keeps getting ignored, you feel for him. I ended up feeling happy when he was finally getting some recognition (granted for his limb re-growth abilities) and then felt sadness when it all came to an end. Connecting with the main character is a difficult gift to give your readers. Fred Venturini has mastered this skill.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Initially I was fearful that I would have some trouble with such male-oriented content, but that apprehension was quickly erased. The fact that Fred Venturini had me hooked in the first chapter shows me what a literary craftsman my former student has become.

Stylistically, he reminds me of Vonnegut, for he, too, could pack such on-target descriptions and evoke such intense emotions with his seemingly simple, concise syntax. When Fred was in high school, I envied his ease and flair with words. Now I bow to a master.

Thematically, however, I see elements of Fitzgerald's Gatsby ~ the corruption of the American dream as Dale is willing to sacrifice even his life for the attention of someone actually unattainable ~ someone he considers better than himself, but who truly is not. Since the book is first-person, I wondered how Fred would resolve the story without changing POV, but his way is inspired.

Despite Fred's disclaimer that Vernon Hills is not really his hometown of Patoka, people who know him and his history will enjoy the *Easter eggs* and inside jokes that Fred has sprinkled throughout the book. These hometown nuggets provide a whole 'nother level of enjoyment for this wonderful book.

Bravo, Baby Boy! :)
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More About the Author

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South '13. In 2014, his story "Gasoline" will be featured in Chuck Palahniuk's Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.

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