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The Samaritan Hardcover – February 15, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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.

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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: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,591,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book starts off fast and pulls you through a whitewater ride so quickly that sometimes you have to come up for air. Wow! Venturini will soon be a household name, based on this first book.

The characters are engaging, the plot is layered, the story is imaginative and the writing is crisp and tight. What more could you ask?

Read this book, and keep an eye out for the next one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I heard about this book from Chuck Palahniuk's site. It was highly recomemded and it did not disappoint. I had read the review before I had a Kindle so I didn't read it until a few months later. I am glad I didn't really remember what it was about going into it. My first on the Kindle so that was my original excitement with it.
That being said, what a ride! Dale Sampson, an awkward kid in middle school befriends Mack, the cool kid that everyone wants to be like. We follow Dale through high school and beyond to an equally awkward adulthood. An adulthood where he learns of a special gift he has. Yet his character through and through is always fixated on a tragedy from his teenage years that stays with him constantly. He is forever trying to "fix" the past but as we all know it is impossible to do so.
This book is about love, friendship, and tragedy. It is crafted beautifully by Venturini in words that are brutal at times. And beautiful other times. He captures feelings of youth and lost love effortlessly.
I hate to read reviews that give away the book so that is the best way I can describe The Samaritan. Buy this book! You won't regret it. I look forward to reading any future works by this brilliant Author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I originally purchased the kindle edition based off of reviews from Chuck Palahniuk's website. It was definitely worth it!

This book is great, and really gives a fresh breath of air to the "transgressive" community. Thanks to the Cult's Writer's Workshop we have a book that truly showcases the talent that America has been waiting on for a while.

The Samaritan follows the story of Dale and his best friend Mack from the young childhood to adulthood, and the journey that shapes their decisions along the way. Dale feels like a regular guy that any one could have gone to high school with. Mack, the sports jock, is the protective "older brother" that so desperately wants Dale to be a normal, social guy. Their journey is full of grief and despair and leaves the reader wanting to see their lives improve.

Venturini is a master story teller that delivers a punch to the gut and leaves you wanting to know more even when the story ends. Hopefully we will see more from this wonderful author in the future.

Read this book - you will not be disappointed!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
he Samaritan, by Fred Venturini, is a new publication from Blank Slate Press, a young publisher from the American Midwest. The book tells the story of Dale Sampson and his best friend, Mack. Dale is an extremely ordinary boy from a small Illinois town. He's smart but sad, badly-socialized and a little pathetic. When Mack, the cool baseball-playing hotshot, takes Dale under his wing, it changes his life. He's still a smart, badly-socialized, pathetic loser, but he's no longer sad - Dale has a friend, and that changes his outlook on everything.

This Disney delight comes to an abrupt end in high school.

While Mack is gleefully leaping on every girl in school, Dale's attention is focused on just one: Regina. It isn't love, it is that gut-wrenching, harmless-yet-terrifying obsession of which only adolescents are truly capable of achieving. Mr. Venturini shows the reader many horrors during the course of The Samaritan, but none of them might be as painful as Dale's unreciprocated crush on Regina.

Dale does get some attention in return - mostly from Regina's boyfriend, Clint. The thuggish bully puts Dale in the hospital. While there, Dale discovers something new - he heals. And by that, I mean heals.

Dale's amazing recuperative power is the science-fictional twist of The Samaritan. It seems that, no matter what you do to him, he comes back. Cut off toes - they regrow. Remove kidneys - they come back. Eyes, legs, skin, lungs... it doesn't matter. Dale's a human salamander with an infinite capacity to absorb punishment.

A chance encounter (at the Wal-Mart, no less) with another lost soul from his high school galvanizes Dale.
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