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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

A book by David Wroblewski

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - compelling reading

  • Aug 5, 2010

Edgar Sawtelle is a young boy growing up on a farm who's parents raise a special breed of dog - Sawtelle dogs - and the losses and love that occur in his life and his parents' lives. What I found particularly appealing in reading the book is the emotional part the dogs play, so much so that some chapters are written from a particular dog's perspective. Being a dog lover, I found those chapters so in line with how I imagine dogs think and feel, and the boundless love they have for their humans. Edgar is mute and learns to communicate thoroughly with his family but importantly, with the dogs - no mean feat by any account. It taught me that words are not what's important, but actions and the consequences of our actions. There is murder and loss and hardship in this book, making it a compelling read and one that teaches us about compassion and love, sometimes not the traditional view of love but love nonetheless.

The characters, both good and bad ones, are fully developed and their motives exposed as the plot develops. Edgar is a wondrous fellow, wise beyond his years and attuned to everything around him. He understands the people in his life better than they understand each other, but is not always able to explain his feelings (don't forget, he's mute). When tragedy happens, he flees and lives on his own in the woods with several of the dogs, leaving behind the dog who was his best friend. Ultimately, he must decide whether to live on his own or return home, and his decision creates yet more tragedy.

Throughout, each character struggles with choices - and how love affects those choices while also creating blind spots in judgment and actions taken. I think this resonates with anyone, while moving the plot along very well.

This is the first novel by this author and I very much hope he writes more. I recommend this to any dog-lover but also to anyone who enjoys reading about fully-developed characters who struggle with life's choices.

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More The Story of Edgar Sawtelle reviews
review by . March 07, 2010
Edgar Sawtelle lives on a remote farm in northern Wisconsin with his parents who breed and train dogs. Although he is a mute, he has a special relationship with his dog, Almondine, and life is good. But then a mysterious, long-lost uncle joins the family and everything changes.       This engrossing, lyrical novel is perfect for dog lovers and mystery fans and if you are a dog breeder or trainer, I think you will really enjoy the book, because it's filled with fascinating background …
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
Oprah's Book Club Selection
review by . July 13, 2009
Pros: Strength of characters is prime, plot, pacing and imagery      Cons: Some points get a big draggy      The Bottom Line: I haven't run into characters so engaging in longer than I can remember, that is reason enough to read.  Recommended without reservation.      Despite the dull title, David Wroblewski’s story The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a quality read and especially so given that it is Mr. Wroblewski’s first …
review by . January 01, 2009
Well, I was beginning to think I was the only person having read this book that ended up quite disappointed in it...I figured it must just be my own fault for listening to all the hype and press and getting my hopes built up too high. I'm glad to see that it is NOT just me, but still completely disappointed that the book didn't offer me more.     I will say that I truly enjoyed the sections in the books that related specifically to the dogs. The more I read, the more each dog …
review by . September 30, 2008
Dog breeding and training is a source of pride for people who do it for a living. This is a one theme in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I haven't read too many books about dogs, but this is very moving. I love the hard work ethic and care and compassion for dogs of the main character Edgar in this book. The novel sparked my interest in two things. I am interested in how dogs are trained and bred now.     I am interested in learning more about sign language as a means of communication. …
review by . September 19, 2008
From the moment I read the Publisher's Weekly starred review in June on The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel by David Wroblewski, I knew I had to read the book. It did take some time, but it was worth every moment. (I'll admit that I read some non-fiction in between--if for no other reason than to make the novel last longer!)    If you love animals--especially dogs--and believe in their power of communication and their ability to love, this book is a must read. I was entranced …
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Liz Mooradian ()
Ranked #802
Member Since: Aug 5, 2010
Last Login: Oct 17, 2010 11:35 PM UTC
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About this book


A best-selling selection in Oprah's Book Club celebrates the ancient alliance between humans and dogs and follows the coming-of-age of speech-disabled Wisconsin youth Edgar, who bonds with three yearling canines and struggles to prove that his sinister uncle is responsible for his father's death. Reprint. 500,000 first printing.
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ISBN-13: 978-0061374234
Author: David Wroblewski
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Ecco Press
Date Published: September 08, 2009
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Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009


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