Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

If you want to read a modern American classic, this is it.

One of the most prevalent feelings I had after closing The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was that very rarely does a book encompass all of a main character's life, without leaving anything out.  When it does you feel like you truly know the character.  If nothing else, getting to know Edgar Sawtelle made this book worth reading.

Of course there are many other reasons, many of which I'm not going to get into.  This is a book you want to know as little about before you start reading.  In fact, don't even read the inside of the dust jacket, because it gives too much away.  Here are the few things you need to know:

1.  Have a box of tissues handy.  I'm not usually one to read a book I know will make me cry, which is why I stay away from many books that feature dogs as predominant characters.  However, the way in which David Wroblewski shows you the life on a farm that breeds "the future of dogs" was incredible.  Wroblewski knows dogs, inside and out.  He can characterize them so that you feel you know them, you grew up with them, and you never want to let them go.  Hence the tissues.

2.  This book is long.  Coming in at 566 pages, this is no easy weekend read.  Then again, once you start you won't want to stop.  And the length is necessary to tell the whole story, and to tell it well.  At the end I felt I really knew Edgar and his family, and I understood where each of the characters was coming from.  Yes, even the dogs.

3.  This book has everything.  Mystery, murder, coming-of-age, adventure.  It even has a bit of a ghost story.  Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it here.

And that's really all you need to know.  Anything else would be too much.  5 out of 5 stars.  If you haven't read this book already, go get it now.


  1. I read this one when it first came out, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I'm not much of a dog person (or animal person), but I was fascinated by them in this novel. I will say, as much as a I loved it at the time, it's not a novel that has stuck with me much. I can't recall the last time I thought of it before seeing your review. I am curious to see what Wroblewski comes out with next.

  2. With a review like that, how can I not read this one?