- Paperback: 114 pages
- Publisher: Sinister Grin Press (October 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0983911843
- ISBN-13: 978-0983911845
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I'm Not Sam Paperback – October 1, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
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Life is good for Patrick and his wife of eight years, Sam, until the night when Patrick finds Sam naked and trembling in the corner. He addresses her by name and she screams out, “I’m not Sam!” Who she is, she claims, is Lily, and, judging by her behavior, she’s about five years old. A trip to the hospital confirms there is nothing physically awry—so who the hell is Lily? This is a novella-length work, but the authors wring out more than enough awkwardness, as Patrick watches his sexy and confident wife pouting for candy, picking her nose in public, and having trouble wiping up after bathroom visits. It’s painfully clear early on how the plot is gathering steam: Patrick’s increasingly unbearable urge to make love to his wife, just like normal, even though now that might make him something of a pedophile. You’d expect nothing less from the provocateurs behind The Woman (2012), whom you can almost hear giggling in the background at the reader’s discomfort. An epilogue provides some concrete answers—and delivers a well-needed climactic kick. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
He is, quite simply, one of the best in the business, on par with Clive Barker, James Ellroy, and Thomas Harris. --Stephen King --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Samantha and Patrick have been married for eight years and between them they own a special older and arthritic cat, called Zoey. (Zoey is mentioned at this point because she's an integral part of this tale). These last eight years have been wonderful with their compatibility growing into a wonderful love, a special friendship, and great sex... well, not just great sex, but sex with orgasmic climaxes of galactic proportions. All is well in this heavenly union, until one morning Patrick awakes to find Sam changed. And when he calls her name to ask her what's wrong, she stares at him as she would a stranger and announces 'I'm not Sam'... and from this point their lives change forever.
Some thoughts on "I'm not Sam"...
1.) it is a beautifully written and brilliantly told piece of literature. A quasi-thriller if you will. A book in which I could barely wait to turn the page and at the same time, apprehensive as to that I was going to find there. The material of goosebumps!
2.) a sense of pace and timing that is superb.
3.) while a truly interesting and intriguing tale in its own right, it is the author's ability to relate the main character's (Patrick) observations that is the main focal point of this short work... his insightful comments about intimate situations and relationships.
4.) I thought that the use of the sexually related vernacular was not only justified but completely appropriate as it applied to the relationship between Sam and Patrick. The prose had a definitive erotic quality to it in many places.
5.) some terrific character development, particularly of Patrick. I thought some of his observations were incredibly perceptive and insightful.
6.) an end sequence that is exquisite!
7.) cover art... an image that I initially thought tended to misleads the reader away from the stunningly complex tale within. Superficially, the cover looked to me... well, in a word... smutty. However, after reading the story, the attention to some of the details found in this image fit the tale perfectly... although that being said, I'm not sure something a little less 'risqué' might have been equally effective. It's the type of image that could turn some readers completely off... with the result they'd be missing something quite special.
A wonderful tale wound around Sam and Patrick's special relationship (and to a limited degree their cat, Zoey). It's a tale that focuses on the human senses... in this case the sense of touch. Our skin, with its exquisite sensitivity to the lightest of caresses (or negatively, the most crude, fumbling grasp), has the ability to interpret the inner-most and private emotions of those its wearer permits the privilege of contact. Maybe one of mankind's greatest gifts.
A stunning short work.
As it is... 5 Stars
But this Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella is about to turn very dark. For when Sam awakens the next morning, she isn't Sam. She insists she's Lily, and behaves like a five or six-year-old girl. Patrick has no idea what to do. He takes her to the doctor, and eventually for a brain scan, and she checks out as physically healthy. But Patrick is reluctant to follow through on the doctor's referral to a psychological therapist, hoping to bring her to herself through his own efforts.
Patrick doesn't fully appreciate how difficult this will be. The body from whom that young girl's voice and thoughts are issuing is the body of his beloved wife. The artlessness of a typical child makes it difficult for him to control his sexual impulses; Lily wants him to wash her hair, or to fasten the back of her bathing suit, or even to sleep in his bed when she's frightened. But he manages. He buys a house full of toys, fixes the unused swingset in the yard, and watches over her when she swims in the river. He even teaches her how to properly pet their old, arthritic cat so that the cat isn't hurt.
It's a strange situation, and Patrick's refusal to take Sam to a therapist is even stranger. It's not clear what he expects will happen, though he keeps trying to jog her memory. One day, Lily discovers Sam's clothes and wants to play dress-up. Patrick notices that she chooses Sam's favorites, and decides to make another attempt to bring her back to herself. What follows from that decision is like a kick to the stomach.
The authors ask that the reader stop there, at the end of the first part of this novella, for at least a few minutes, a few hours, even a few days. Read on to "Who's Lily?" if you must, they say -- your questions might be answered there, but they might not. It's an odd request to make, perhaps even a little hokey; I did as the authors requested and let half an hour expire before I went on to read the second section, but noted no real difference in my appreciation of the tale as a result. It's still a shocking take, and there are still no clear-cut rights and wrongs here, no complete solutions. The lingering uncertainty regardless of the passage of time is what makes this story so horrific.
Originally published at Fantasy Literature website. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.
This short story, which includes a follow up that the authors suggest you allow time for an "intermission" before reading, introduces us to Patrick and Sam. A married couple who are still in love with each other, even after 8 years. After a romantic evening that ends well for both, they go to sleep and Patrick finds out just how quick his world can turn upside down.
I don't want to give away too much, this book is a short ride and I don't do spoiler alerts, but Patrick's dillemma and the choices he makes in dealing with Sam's complete mental breakdown will keep you turning the pages. The moral and social implications are deep. What would Patrick do can so easily become what would I do or what would you do.
If you enjoy a good psychological thriller that forces you to think about your own moral compass, don't hesitate in giving this book a shot.