Book Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Now here's a book that I picked up maybe a year and a half ago when it was at the height of it's popularity. I read the first couple of chapters, then decided that it just wasn't for me. I got to the chapter that was written from the dog's perspective and thought "nope, sorry, can't wade though this." So, I wouldn't have picked it up again, but it was chosen as the next book for my book club to read.

Guess what? I'm glad that I did have the opportunity to try this book again. I enjoyed it from the beginning to almost the end (I'll elaborate on this later). I liked the writing style, which was intelligent and intimate. I also discovered that it follows the story of Hamlet very closely.

So the main character is Edgar, a young teenager, who was born mute. He and his parents live in Northern Wisconsin, in the country where they raise Sawtelle dogs (a special breed that the family has been perfecting for genereations now). He is an only child, but he is far from lonely. He has the companionship of his faithful dog Almondine, who is always looking out for him. Everything seems pretty normal until his long lost Uncle Claude shows up. Edgar seems to have a feeling about him. Then out of the blue his father keels over dead one day. Things don't add up in Edgar's mind. He searches for answers. Meanwhile, his mother takes up with Claude and the story gets increasingly interesting. (Remember, think Hamlet)

I felt very involved in this story. I know some think that there was too much detail about the dog training in places or that the story slowed. I didn't find this the case, I kind of liked how the story meandered a bit. What I didn't like was the ending. I won't spoil it for you, but it lacked power and believability. I was also left wondering about a motive. All in all, I would recommend it to anyone that likes a long book and/or loves dogs.

My Rating

Overall: 4 stars. It could have been a 5 star book, but for the ending.

Objestionable Content: It did have a few swear words here and there. Also, there is the relationship between Edgar's mother and his Uncle Claude that is kind of sick and wrong.


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