Friday, July 3, 2009

Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Book: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A+
For: Fun

I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time, despite the fact that it's an "Oprah" book. I'd heard all the rave reviews and all the buzz and talk last year. But it's such a BIG book! And then there were those few reviews were people were saying, "But it's boring!!" And so when I got it for birthday many months ago, I didn't pick it up right away. I was scared basically. I wanted to really like it, but I was worried I wouldn't.

Well, this past month I started feeling guilty about ignoring it for so long, so I decided to make it be my treadmill book. From the very first chapter I was hooked! Why in the world did I wait so long to read this one!! Anyway, I left it on the treadmill for awhile figuring the book waiting for me was good motivation to walk. But last weekend, as I mentioned before, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to just read it and finish it.

Yet, it's one of those books that, for me anyway, I didn't want to end, but I couldn't stop reading it either. So it was a bittersweet weekend. Wow, I loved it

As many of you know, it's based on the story of Hamlet, which, if you're like me, won't mean much since I'd totally forgotten the details of Hamlet. It's the story of a 14 year old boy, Edgar. From the time he is born, he isn't able to cry or talk. His voice does not work. So he learns sign, and observes the world. He lives on a farm with his parents who raise a special breed of dog called Sawtelle dogs. There are wonderful descriptions about the dogs and how aware they are of what's going on around them, and how in tune they are with their humans. People pay big bucks for their dogs.

So Edgar's life is quite happy with his mom, his dad and all the dogs. Then one day, his wayward uncle shows up and lives with them for a time. Things start getting a bit heated between the uncle and his dad. Life starts becoming a little more stressful and not going so smooth. So then, if you know the story of Hamlet you know what to expect, but if you don't, I'm not going to spell it all out! Just read the book!

I know some people have a hard time with the book because of the long descriptions, but this is one reason why I loved it. The barn, the dogs, what's going on in Edgar's mind, the forest, the storms, the light.... everything! I loved it. It was like I was totally there.

I also fell in love with all the characters, dogs included. (And I'm not at all a dog kind of person.) There were many deeply moving scenes that brought me to tears several times. I have a feeling this one will be one I'll want to re-read over the years to come.

I didn't watch any of the stuff about this book during it's Oprah stint. But just today, I discovered all that is still online if you are interested. I love hearing this soft spoken author explain how things came about. Also, here's the main site for the book. And I love what Stephen King has to say about it: "I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. In the end, this isn't a novel about dogs or heartland America, it's a novel about the human heart and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate.... I don't reread many books because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one."

Other Reviews:

I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book
The Magic Lasso
The Dashner Dude


  1. I have this book on my wish list. I was hesitant to get it because it was an Oprah book. You've changed my mind.

    I completely understand your saying "I wanted to really like it, but I was worried I wouldn't." I've felt the same way about books that I've had waiting to be read.

  2. I listened to this book on audio after repeatedly reading/hearing all the hype and I was disappointed. I thought it dragged and I absolutely despised the ending. But it was interesting to read your review. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the great review! The book sounds really good!

  4. I really want to read this book! I often have that feeling of dread, that I won't like a book, and it's so nice to find you were wrong!

  5. Lynne: Oh, I hope you like it when you get to it!

    Fern: Sorry to hear you didn't like it as much. I know some people felt the same way as you.. thus the reason I was nervous!

    Rhapsodyinbooks and Jeane: Let me know if you decide to try it.



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