“I am Sam, Sam I am.”

“The Boy Behind the Mask” was most definitely a tragic, yet happy story. I couldn’t believe what Hallman said about the child’s face was true, until I saw the pictures. As I kept reading about his life’s story, how he was like that ever since he was born, and the ridicule he received from strangers, the harder it was for me to stop reading. The story pulled me in. I wanted to hear about his life, what he had face, and to see if there was anything he, or anyone, could do to help him. It makes sense that this story won a Pulitzer Prize, due to the fact it was easy to follow, organized, and made me want to keep reading.

I was mostly interested to hear about his life and how others treated him. Unfortunately, it was as I expected: stares from strangers, ridicules from classmates, and even thought as handicapped. His family, on the other hand, was a blessing. They saw Sam as their own and not as some freak. They supported him in everything he did, even when he decided to have surgery on his face that could cost him his life. I greatly enjoyed reading about the love his family had for him.

The boring parts, to me, were what happened in some of the doctors lives that didn’t seem to apply to the story, and some parts of the surgery that I either didn’t understand, or extended the story long than I needed to be. It was horrifying to read about all the blood that Sam had lost during the operation, how many bags of blood were needed to keep him alive, and all the towels, dripping in blood due to Sam’s tremendous bleeding. But because I’m not a doctor, I skimmed through some of the parts that were directed to a doctors point of view. I didn’t understand it very well, so I saw no point in reading it.

As to what became of “The Boy Behind The Mask”, I couldn’t find any information on Bing of what has become of him, but the conclusion of the story told that he made it through his intensive surgery and attended his high school with a somewhat renewed face.




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2 responses to ““I am Sam, Sam I am.”

  1. The same thing happened to me! After reading a few pages of “The Boy Behind the Mask,” I couldn’t stop. I’m embarrassed to admit that when I first glanced at the story, it looked incredibly long, and I was planning on just skimming through most of it. In the end, I’m glad I took the time to actually READ the story; it really had an impact on me. In my opinion, Tom Hallman is completely deserving of the Pulitzer Prize he received.

  2. What impacted me the most about “The Boy Behind the Mast”, was also learning about how other people treated Sam due to his facial condition. I understand that it is typical for people to stare and comment about similar things, but what struck me the most was just how many people saw his face, and judged the person he was solely on his enormous growth. I think some of the people that saw him probably thought he was a monster, but in reality Sam was just a kid with an enormous heart and a desire to fit in. It was sad to read about how people treated Sam so differently just because of his condition. I think Hallman does a great job at pointing out the problem with judging people without actually getting to know who they really are.
    For me, it was truly amazing to see how Hallman brought to life the surgeries and Sam’s condition through his writing. It was as if you were actually there in the operating room watching Sam’s operation! What interested me the most is how Hallman masters the art of detail. He mentions how Sam’s growth is a ball of arteries, lymphatic vessels, and nerves all jumbled up together in an intricate way. I think that it is through this detail that he shows the reader just how critical Sam’s physical state really is. He does not only limit himself to only physical description, but also description regarding Sam’s emotional state.

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