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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
My Name is Sam...And Heaven is Still Shining Through by Joe Siccardi is a moving fictional memoir about friendship, love, family, and faith. As four friends move into their adult years, their paths begin to part. One of the friends, Samantha (Sam) meets a shy young man. At first, she is unsure whether their meeting will develop into anything more. As they continue to meet, they grow closer. Sam notices that Chadwick (Chad) is like no other guy she has met before. He listens, praises her, supports, and is proud of her. Their whirlwind romance results in a quick, intimate wedding. Their new life is fraught with challenges but they face everything that comes together. Still, more challenging losses arise and Sam has to learn to live and cope with unexpected tragedies.
Sam’s friends are each given their own personalities which portray them as genuine characters. Bernie is the tough one, Sam is tough but also skillful, Betty and Lynn are the followers in the pack. Their other friend, Pat, is a rebel. They share a strong bond and will do anything for each other. Throughout the narrative, Sam grows as a person, deepening her faith as she faces each day at a time. Family strife and reconciliation is a theme, and it is executed adeptly. Sam’s mother is constantly critical of her daughter’s decisions which results in tension within the family and Sam’s father plays the role of peacemaker in the family. I loved the different directions Sam’s life takes which mirror the unpredictability of real life. As a Christian work, My Name is Sam...And Heaven is Still Shining Through by Joe Siccardi carries practical lessons and a powerful story.