Tom Hallman Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask

ISBN 13: 9780399149337

Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask

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9780399149337: Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask

Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask tells the true, heart-wrenching story of Sam Lightner. Born with a rare disfiguring growth that covers and distorts the left side of his face, skull, and neck-Sam is determined to live a normal life. For fourteen years, doctors refuse to operate on Sam, until an elite team of surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital undertake a risky thirteen-hour operation to remove the malformation. Sam nearly dies on the operating table, but survives, and returns home to begin his freshman year of high school. However, when doctors discover excess fluid around his brain, Sam slips into a coma, and is not expected to live. As the family and doctors begin to give up, one doctor-pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby-keeps believing, even as all hope seems lost. The only female in the boy's club of neurosurgery, Dr. Wehby is scorned for refusing to accept facts and for allowing her emotions-as a woman-to cloud her medical judgment. But she perseveres, staying by Sam's side, until he moves first a finger, then a foot, and finally, begins to interact with those around him.

Tom Hallman's Pulitzer prize-winning series on Sam Lightner in The Oregonian touched the city of Portland so profoundly that it generated more than ten thousand letters from readers. Now Tom Hallman takes us far deeper into the world Sam inhabits, encompassing startling and inspirational events up to the present day. A human story of hope in the face of tragedy, and the compassion to attempt the impossible, Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask shows how one boy-wanting nothing more than to be part of the regular world-is helped along his journey by medical miracles, and by the generosity of the human heart.

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About the Author:

Tom Hallman, Jr. won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his series of articles in The Oregonian on Sam Lightner. He has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist twice before, and has been the recipient of every major writing award for journalism, including multiple American Society of Newspaper Editors awards, a Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and a Nixon National Writing Award. A reporter for more than twenty-five years, Hallman has been at The Oregonian since 1980, and is currently a senior reporter specializing in features and narratives.

From Publishers Weekly:

Veteran journalist Hallman expands his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Sam Lightner, a boy born with a rare, disfiguring growth on his face, into a heart-breaking saga of the emotional, physical and psychological battles Sam and his family have fought since his birth in 1985. The growth, a "tangle of lymphatic capillary cells" beneath the skin of Sam's face, necessitates two surgeries before Sam is even a week old; when the boy nearly dies after a 1989 operation, his parents decide that surgery to remove the mass is out of the question until Sam himself demands it. Hallman, a reporter at the Portland Oregonian who first met Sam in 1999, tenderly chronicles Sam's childhood and early adolescence: his difficulties fitting in at school, his inability to participate in activities with other children, his yearning to lead a more normal life. In 2000, Sam undergoes surgery in Boston. Initially it seems successful, but back in Portland, Sam slips into a coma. His pediatric neurosurgeon and his parents are the only ones who believe he will live; eventually Sam proves them right. Hallman's writing is crisp and affecting, though also sometimes overly dramatic and simplistic. He portrays Sam's doctors, for example, as wholly altruistic beings (a portrayal not entirely unjustified) and glosses over some of the more personal, and painful, emotions his parents must have felt watching their child suffer. Still, this is a deeply moving story, an against-all-odds tale of bravery and faith. 8 pages b&w photos
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Hallman, Jr., Tom
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