1.03.2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

In three words I deem this book: lyrical, insightful, and touching.

I dived into this book knowing absolutely nothing. Oprah said to not read the inside flap because it gave too much away. So I didn't. And I was really happy I didn't. It made it that much more interesting. All I knew about the book was what the title rendered, and that was: it was going to be a story about a fella named Edgar Sawtelle. And boy was it ever. Immediately I fell in love with this book's beautiful, even lyrical, writing and the passion of the story that is told. It's unlike any book I've ever read. Oprah said the author is the next John Steinbeck - and I say, no. He's better. Fantastically better. This is a must read.

Below is what highly acclaimed author, Stephen King, had to say about Edgar and his story:

"I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Dog-lovers in particular will be riveted by this story, because the canine world has never been explored with such imagination or emotional resonance. Yet in the end, this isn't a novel about dogs or heartland America — although it is a deeply American work of literature. It's a novel about the human heart, and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate. Yet in the person of Edgar Sawtelle, a mute boy who takes three of his dogs on a brave and dangerous odyssey, Wroblewski does articulate them, and splendidly. I closed the book with that regret readers feel only after experiencing the best stories: It's over, you think, and I won't read another one this good for a long, long time.

In truth, there has never been a book quite like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I thought of Hamlet when I was reading it (of course... and in this version, Ophelia turns out to be a dog named Almondine), and Watership Down, and The Night of the Hunter, and The Life of Pi — but halfway through, I put all comparisons aside and let it just be itself.

I'm pretty sure this book is going to be a bestseller, but unlike some, it deserves to be. It's also going to be the subject of a great many reading groups, and when the members take up Edgar, I think they will be apt to stick to the book and forget the neighborhood gossip.

Wonderful, mysterious, long and satisfying: readers who pick up this novel are going to enter a richer world. I envy them the trip. I don't reread many books, because life is too short. I will be rereading this one."

{http://www.edgarsawtelle.com/} <-- visit the website to read more reviews

5 out of 5 stars

3 comments:

Ariel said...

ok gina. if you loved it so much, i'm going to have to read it. i'm sure once i get 200+ pages into it, i'll be fine. it just seems so intimidating to start a book that's so LONG!

unfortunately i already read the cover, and lots of stuff about it online. hopefully that won't ruin it!

Marianne said...

Hey, I read it a couple months ago. But I had a different reaction than you did. I am a dog person- I LOVE dogs, and totally get the relationships there. And I also thought that the writing style was beautiful.

But for me the story got a little too crazy. I also knew not to read the cover, so I didn't have any idea about what was coming. I guess that I thought it was going to be a nice little coming of age story about a boy and his dogs living on his farm. But once Edgar ran away the story just got more and more weird. It was too bizarre and it really lost me. And the ending???? I was actually kind of mad about it. It was almost as bad as, "And then Edgar woke up, and discovered that it was all a dream." I'm not intimidated by a long book, but I do think the reader should be rewarded at the end- with some closure, with a lesson learned, SOMETHING for Pete's sake!

Maybe I'm just not a deep enough thinker to see what the meaning was in this book. Maybe I need to get my hands on some Cliff's Notes! :)

Thanks for letting me rant!
(ps- I had the exact same reaction to East of Eden when I read that too)

Stephani Flower said...

Hey Gina, great review. I am actually about to start this book. I decided to read it after Laura told me about it. I just commented on your food blog a minute ago, but I just wanted to say that I love these blogs, and I read them and take ideas from them all the time! Hope you and Anthony and your cuter-than-ever kids are doing great!

By the way, to anyone else reading, I am Gina's cousin's wife and I love all of your reviews :)