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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is definitely a "must read"


Review by Ann Ulrich Miller

I just have to comment on the book I just read, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski. I had heard about the book from my cousin Katy, who said she was giving a copy to her mother who had grown up in northern Wisconsin, where the story takes place.

I was ready for a good book, so asked for it at my local library but found out it was a very popular book and I'd be placed on a waiting list.

Well, Edgar Sawtelle was worth waiting for. It was such a large book (over 500 pages) that I saw it was going to be a challenge for me to get the whole thing read in a month's time. But I surprised myself. The story was incredibly addicting and Wroblewski is an exceptional writer.

I felt as though I became each of those characters in the way the author expressed each of their perceptions. The omnipotent point of view -- not a wise choice for most works of fiction, in my opinion -- works well in this novel. I was even convinced that I knew what a dog was thinking.

Even the antagonist in the story comes across as someone any of us could identify with. Just as I was feeling angry and disgusted with this person, his perception was justified if only in the fact that even a killer must have feelings and motives the rest of us cannot possibly comprehend.

I had really hoped the story would have a happy ending because, for the most part, I believe in happy endings. This book was different. It was deep, and after I read the last page, I felt compelled to go back to the beginning and re-read the first chapter, which finally made sense to me.

Later, after I put the book aside and turned off my night light, the tears began to seep. Then I cried... hard! Those characters from rural Wisconsin will stick with me for a long, long time. The bond between Edgar and his dog, Almondine, went straight to my heart. Anyone who has ever loved an animal in this way will understand Edgar's remorse when he had no choice but to run, and was never able to say goodbye.

I'm not likely to forget what I shared, being part of a frightened, grief-stricken teen-age boy named Edgar, who couldn't speak, but had more to say than most of us ever will.

 

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