Wrobleswski, David. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. New York: Harper Collins, 2008.
This is a story of a mute boy who grows up raising dogs. Through a series of events, he must flee his home and survive on his own. He realizes that he must return home to the memory of his father, confront the evil uncle and make amends with his beloved companion, Almondine.
This book is a whopping 562 pages. About 200 or more pages could be eliminated. The author throws out many possible story lines, as if he's not sure himself where the story is going. It took Wroblewski ten years to write this book. Why didn't the editor take some time to pare down the book? Or maybe the editor did (thank goodness because I can't imagine reading 500 more pages!).
I liked the basic story. It shows depth of human compassion and the relationships between humans and dogs. I like many of the descriptions the author used throughout the book. One of my favorites is when Louisa Wilkes enters the story. "Something about the prim way she walked and folded her hands when she sat made Trudy think she was a southerner, though she had no accent" (Wroblewski 39). The characters are memorable. "Ida Paine looked at her from her perch. She wore oversize glasses that magnified her eyes, and behind the lenses those eyes blinked and blinked again" (Wroblewski 37). We as readers get to see the story from all perspectives, including the dogs. This helps complete the story for us.
I didn't read the prologue before reading the book, and I actually think I was more surprised by the ending because I didn't have South Korea in my head. I did, however, have knowledge from a colleague that the last thirty pages were emotional. That tidbit kept me plugging through the book to see what would happen in the last thirty pages.
Like many books, after having read the entire thing for plot content, I could see the clues that Wroblewski dropped throughout the story. One of my favorite parts of the book is what I would call the "life lesson" of the book. "Life was a swarm of accidents waiting in the treetops, descending upon any living thing that passed, ready to eat them alive. You swam in a river of chance or coincidence" (Wroblewski 457).
Great story, just too lengthy!