Customer Reviews for

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Average Rating 3.5
( 914 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(329)

4 Star

(205)

3 Star

(159)

2 Star

(119)

1 Star

(102)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

32 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

I felt like I was right there with the characters

You have to have an open mind when reading this book or you definitely won't "get it." If you like everything tied up in a neat little package and don't like difficult words (you might even have to look some up), this is probably not the book for you. But if you enjoy...
You have to have an open mind when reading this book or you definitely won't "get it." If you like everything tied up in a neat little package and don't like difficult words (you might even have to look some up), this is probably not the book for you. But if you enjoy feeling like you're living right there with the characters and seeing right through their eyes, this author can take you there. I especially liked seeing the world through Almondine's eyes. It made me understand how my own dogs probably see the world. A terrible sadness gripped me right in the pit of my stomach at the end, but I also felt joy that Almondine's spirit was there for Edgar and I was glad Claude suffered too. I think the ending is open to interpretation, which is good because it gets people talking about the book. I felt somehow that Forte would join the dogs and become their leader, perhaps even take them to Henry. I felt like the dogs were able to almost communicate telepathically with each other. Towards the end of the book I felt excitement and fear and dread for Edgar, disgust and loathing for Claude and pity for Trudy - and I just couldn't put the book down. I actually went back and read the last three chapters one more time after I had finished. I can't wait for him to write another book!

posted by 279815 on October 31, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

55 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

Biggest letdown ever

Please do not read this book. I just finished it and have never felt more betrayed and letdown by a book before. If you would have asked me yesterday what I thought of the book, I would have told you I loved it. The characters were engrossing, the language was at once a...
Please do not read this book. I just finished it and have never felt more betrayed and letdown by a book before. If you would have asked me yesterday what I thought of the book, I would have told you I loved it. The characters were engrossing, the language was at once a combination of being sparse and detailed. There was just the right amounts of mystery and beauty, and a touch of the otherworldly. In fact, I felt that anything was possible and plausible in the world of the book. I just don't see the point after finishing it. Why did I go through all of Edgar's struggles only to be stabbed in the back by the author. To me, a story should have a reason, a lesson, a moral objective. But where was it? If it was in there it was overshadowed by the ending, which is all I can think about now. Ripping the readers guts out over the course of a book is good, if there is some kind of satisfaction in the outcome of the story. I think the books objective could have been achieved with a different ending, while still being true to the story. I don't even need a full on happy ending, thats not my point. My point is that misery for misery's sake is just pointless. I lived in Wisconsin, and I love dogs, so maybe I fell a little too hard for this book.

posted by adambomb314 on November 12, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 914 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 46
  • Posted November 12, 2008

    Biggest letdown ever

    Please do not read this book. I just finished it and have never felt more betrayed and letdown by a book before. If you would have asked me yesterday what I thought of the book, I would have told you I loved it. The characters were engrossing, the language was at once a combination of being sparse and detailed. There was just the right amounts of mystery and beauty, and a touch of the otherworldly. In fact, I felt that anything was possible and plausible in the world of the book. I just don't see the point after finishing it. Why did I go through all of Edgar's struggles only to be stabbed in the back by the author. To me, a story should have a reason, a lesson, a moral objective. But where was it? If it was in there it was overshadowed by the ending, which is all I can think about now. Ripping the readers guts out over the course of a book is good, if there is some kind of satisfaction in the outcome of the story. I think the books objective could have been achieved with a different ending, while still being true to the story. I don't even need a full on happy ending, thats not my point. My point is that misery for misery's sake is just pointless. I lived in Wisconsin, and I love dogs, so maybe I fell a little too hard for this book.

    55 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    I felt like I was right there with the characters

    You have to have an open mind when reading this book or you definitely won't "get it." If you like everything tied up in a neat little package and don't like difficult words (you might even have to look some up), this is probably not the book for you. But if you enjoy feeling like you're living right there with the characters and seeing right through their eyes, this author can take you there. I especially liked seeing the world through Almondine's eyes. It made me understand how my own dogs probably see the world. A terrible sadness gripped me right in the pit of my stomach at the end, but I also felt joy that Almondine's spirit was there for Edgar and I was glad Claude suffered too. I think the ending is open to interpretation, which is good because it gets people talking about the book. I felt somehow that Forte would join the dogs and become their leader, perhaps even take them to Henry. I felt like the dogs were able to almost communicate telepathically with each other. Towards the end of the book I felt excitement and fear and dread for Edgar, disgust and loathing for Claude and pity for Trudy - and I just couldn't put the book down. I actually went back and read the last three chapters one more time after I had finished. I can't wait for him to write another book!

    32 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2009

    Not a happy story

    I'll keep it short and sweet. It was a wonderful book until the end. I hated the ending so much that it ruined the whole book and made me wonder what the whole thing was about.

    26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    Very disappointed in this book

    The main reason I ordered this book was because it was highly rated on Oprah's show, and I must confess that I will never read another book that Oprah reccommends.<BR/><BR/>To me, this book had some very good story lines about the training and caring of the dogs, along with their breeding history, and how Edgar communicated and related to them. I am a dog lover so I think that part was very well done, but that was the only essence of the book. Nothing else flowed well.<BR/><BR/>Parts of the book went on far too long while describing the forest, the sunset, the lake, etc., so I actually skipped those parts which were several pages long; and wanted to see what happened between Edgar and Claude. Would justice be served????<BR/><BR/>The biggest disappointment was the ending of the story. What happens to the dogs? Do they become wild, or are they on their way to Henry's home to join Tinder and Baboo??

    22 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2009

    Stay Down, Trudy!

    I couldn't wait to read this book. I expected to absolutely love it. With so many critics, readers and even Oprah, for gosh sakes, praising it to the heavens, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I ... well, I actually hated it (and there are very few books that I would say that about). I thought it was over-blown and self-indulgent. Of the 576 pages, it felt like about 400 were about dog training, a subject I never really cared much about and now, care about even less. And I have a beautiful dog that I love and I'm pretty sure we've done some "shared gazing" without having to make such a big deal about it. Every scene went on and on and on, to the point of sheer torture. By the end of the book, I was irritated with every character, even the beloved Almondine ... I mean, c'mon, who names a dog Almondine? And the ending was truly lame ... if I had any degree of attachment to any of the characters, I would have been yelling, "Get up, Trudy! Save your son!" As it was, I said, "Stay down, Trudy, not worth it." I need to sink my teeth into another book right now, to try to erase the bad taste that Edgar Sawtelle left.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2009

    Beyond Disappointing!!

    I have never felt the compulsion to write a review - until now. I have NEVER been so disappointed and upset with a book, and I literally HATED the author when I finished. I was upset for days. The book is beautifully written and the author extremely talented. One is completely drawn into the life of Edgar. One knows, though, as the ending approaches that it will not be a good one. There are numerous possibilities as to how to end the story, even negatively. However, this author seems to take an almost sadistic pleasure in leaving the reader completely anguished and distraught! I will never read another book of his.

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2008

    Imagination Unrestrained

    While author Wroblewski has a deft paintbrush in detailing the nuanced lives of his human and canine characters, I was left with the nagging feeling that he was simply trying too hard. You could almost hear him as author attempting to get that "just right" description of sunlight through a barn roof, the heavy pant of a loving dog, or the breaking pane of a vandalized window. Nevertheless, I did care deeply for his protaganist -- Edgar. And, I did root for him to triumph. But, where was the "evil"? Claude was enveloped in such mystery that it was difficult to discern what drove him to act with such callous calculation. Where was his passion? The unsatisfying answers in the climax simply left an ache. Was that the point?

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Hamlet is brought into modern day Wisconsin

    In a remote part of Wisconsin, Gar Sawtelle, his wife Trudy and their young son, mute Edgar makes a living breeding and training dogs. Edgar has developed a unique special relationship with Almondine, one of the family dogs the pair communicate in a way that his parents are unable to do with their son.============== The family is contented although the work with the canines is hard. When Gar's brother charming brother Claude comes home the family dynamics change but not in a positive manner. Soon after his arrival Gar dies and the silent Edgar is unable to call for help. He is filled with remorse and guilt making his grief even more difficult. However, he soon believes his father was murdered by his uncle who has spent an exorbitant amount of time with his mom. Fearing he may be next, Edgar flees accompanied by his best friends Almondine and two other dogs.============= Hamlet is brought into modern day Wisconsin as readers feel the destiny of tragedy will occur from the moment Claude arrives and after that happens, a sense of a second calamity once Edgar concludes his uncle killed his father to eliminate the sole barrier to his mother. Readers will be spellbound by David Wrobleweski¿s retelling of the classic as the key cast comes alive especially the mute Edgar who readers get to know by his thoughts and his communication with Almondine (sort of in some ways like the Ghost). This is a fascinating winner, but at 566 pages set aside some time.========== Harriet Klausner

    18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2008

    Great, exciting read then felt cheated

    I have to agree with Anonymous and 24girl. I absolutely loved this book, the characters and of course the main characters, the Sawtelle dogs. Henry was also an integral part of this story. I found I couldn't wait to get back to it and stayed up many nights until 1 or 1:30 in the morning saying "just one more chapter".<BR/>The ending was such a disapointment...I truly felt cheated of a great read. Many questions were left unanswered. Why did he do it? Where did they go? What about Trudy and Glen? What was in their individual futures?<BR/>And we never really know Almondine's final story.<BR/>This could have been a perfect novel had certain things been somewhat clear at the end. But it was a bit chaotic for me.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    Very Disappointed

    I has high hopes for this book the way Oprah talked about it. It took me 3 mos. to read it and the first 150-200 pages were very slow. It did get better but not much. The ending was not good at all. Overall not a great book.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    What the???

    Why do I listen to critics who praise books? Why do I continue to plod throught a book, which page after page I keep thinking "it must get better soon"? This book has so much detail to skim over, with a possibly interesting plot, yet it goes nowhere. I usually stick to my gut instinct, that after 50 or so pages, if the book doesn't grab my attenion, just stop it. But no, I kept out for hope (it is the Christmas season, after all...) of it getting better. And the ending? It almost seemed as if the author didn't know how to end it, so just slapped a conclusion in it. I actually was mad that I wasted a day reading it. Maybe a talented writer, if he edits more, and adds a bit more climax?

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Worst book.

    This was a crappy book. I'm serious. I'm no writer (and I don't claim to be) and I'm not the most articulate, but I just want to say that I really have to disagree with Oprah on this. Which I hate to do because I truly love her. I finished this book several months ago. I thought I'd never finish. The beginning of the book is great; you think the thing is truly going to be an epic, especially after all the hype. And then it just drags on and on and on. There were no heroes, except for maybe the ghost. I wanted to strangle the boy's mother. The end was really pointless....don't care what anyone says; it's not just sad, it's sadly annoying. I hated this book!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    Loosing steam

    The body of the story was well developed but the author ran out of steam at the end. I actually hated the ending. It wasn't deep. It gave no hope. It just ended. Dead, heartbroken, blind: there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Even the dogs drift at the end.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 7, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This book touched me

    I don't understand why some people don't like this book. I'm assuming they've never had a relationship with a pet before. I was so touched by Edgar's relationship with the dogs - especially when he ran away. Edgar and Henry are extremely lovable and deep characters and the storyline kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. I cried at the end - not for the death of the protagonist, but for the beauty in which the end was written. The author put to life a human-animal connection that left a lasting impression for me. I've recommended this book to all of my friends.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

    Book of the Year

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is, perhaps, the best book I have read all year. There are so many pleasures to be found in this book. It can be read for it's thrilling plot, it's subtle and psychologically nuanced portrait of a family caught in the cross currents of profound grief and corrosive envy, it's rich, beautiful language, or it's tender delineation of the relationship between man and dog. While nodding to Hamlet and The Jungle Book, among other classics, this novel is much more than a recasting of familar themes and story lines. It is a singular work of art unto itself (that also happens to be a terrific, propulsive page-turner). This book is as satisfying and entertaining as popular fiction gets.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2009

    Terrible ending.

    The book was interesting and a great read up until the end. I stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish this book and was so mad with the ending that I could not go to sleep. I will never read any other books by this author. What was Oprah thinking when she was raving about this book.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The best book I've read this year.

    A bucolic hybrid of Hamlet and a boy and his dog. There are minor problems with this book, but it is an absolutely outstanding first novel. The author is able to draw you into the simple lives of extraordinary dog breeders and weave a tale that is as lovely as it is tragic. Some reviews complain that the story is long winded and isn't neatly tied up in a happy ending, but it's an epic novel that leaves plenty of room for your imagination to roam. The mark of a truly great book is not its ability to keep you in boundaries and dictate the story to you, but to tell a story that can guide your imagination within and beyond its pages. This is a truly great book.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Bad ending - go to your kennel

    I too am one of those dog people and that's why I picked up the book this summer. It was just too 'too'. From the opening scene with Claude, I knew I had picked the wrong book. I agree with another poster about the end, it seemed as if the author rushed to finish the book and just said 'the end'. And now I see this book featured in all of the book stores, #1 position on the best seller list and I am shaking my head, wandering if I am that thick to have not gotten it. The only one in the family who actually liked the book was our lone male dog, he tore up the dust jacket and chewed the front corners and pronounced it a fun chew due to the size.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I enjoyed this book up until the end

    This book had just about everything for me....great writting, family drama, the bond between a boy and his dog and some truly amazing characters. Alas....I HATED THE ENDING!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2008

    Boring, too long, grueling

    The book took over 100 pages of reading to even spark an interest. The descriptions were endless. The book could have been cut down at least 200 pages.<BR/>There were a few pages that would hold your interest to then be back to the endless descriptions and lengthy boring reading.<BR/>I love dogs and own a German Shepard. But it was too hard to follow with no message here. None.<BR/>What a disappointment. Endless words that lead you no where.<BR/>Edgar and Henry were interesting but there was way too many descriptions to keep your interest in the story.<BR/>It reminds me of the Basic English Writing 101 class as a freshman in college...and the very first thing you were taught was to limit extra verbiage and say a story clearly and succinctly.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 914 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 46