Customer Reviews for

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Average Rating 3.5
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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

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Most Helpful Critical Review

56 out of 77 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted January 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wroblewski: Please re-write the last 30 pages!

    This could have been a fantastic book. I AM NOT a person who always has to have a "happy ending". I've read plenty of books that don't end well, but it has always been to make a greater point in the story. This was not the case in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. You don't sit and ponder the irony. You just feel you've wasted a week of your life reading a book that built up a beautiful, scenic story and let it end without reason. My advice: if you'd like to read a great book and story, just stop 30 pages before the end and then just make up your own mind about what will happen. I am reluctant to read any further Wroblewski, he may delight in cruelty.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully Written

    I found myself aching for the main character in the book - and even though I am not a dog lover, my favorite character was Almondine the dog. She is everything you aspire to be as a human

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    could have been 100 pages shorter

    While I liked the story line, I felt the book dragged on in many parts. I feel that if you are not an animal lover or aware of the training and breeding process of dogs it could be a painful read. I read the ending twice because I thought I had missed something. One of the reasons I read the book is because I am from Wisconsin and on that aspect the book did not disappoint. It was an enjoyable book but just too long.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    well written, but a disappointment

    The book started very interesting, but then took weird turns that didn't flow. The author tried to put to many different ideas in the book that didn't fit the style. It was a ghost story, animal book, family saga, mystery and more. The dogs were interesting and charming for a while, but even they lost their appeal. Could have been a great book if the author had stayed with the family saga and raising dogs plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Edgar Sawtelle

    Overall I think that the author added a lot of extra stuff that didn't necessarily go with the rest of the plot. I think it could have been shortened and been more effective. The ending totally stumped me. I guess Wroblewski left it to where the reader could interpret the story in many different ways, although I thought it put yet another damper on the over rated book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2010

    A Lovely,Sad Book

    The characters are brillant. It is truly a good book and I couldn't put it down until i finished it. I wept at the ending... how could one not? In fact after when done reading it, I had to get my mind on something else because the whole ending kept haunting me, playing with my mind..I couldn't get it out of my head and it was depressing... I suspect because I love dogs so much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    OK - but even dog lovers might have a slow time with it

    I did like most of this book, but I thought the author's style was a bit wordy. As I read the opening pages I felt the author was trying to impress me with his wordy, flowery talk. I was able to keep with the book to the end, but it was too long, too drawn out. There were many places in the book, at climatic parts, where I wasn't sure what really happened and I read it over multiple times trying to figure out what really happened. It's a good story until the end. I wouldn't stop anyone from reading it, but I would only recommend it to the right person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    way too long

    While the character of Edgar is intriguing, and all the characters are well-drawn, the over-wrought prose detracts from the flow of the book. And, as with many first novels, the end was jam-packed with action, giving a frantic feel without raising the interest of the reader. I was bored in the middle of the book, until the character of Henry Lamb was introduced, and bored again at the end, just wanting it to be over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2009

    Pretty Depressing

    This is probably the last book I read that is part of the Oprah Book Club. Most of her choices for fiction works are depressing. With the way the world is going now I for one don't need to read such a depressing novel. Hey Oprah how about an upbeat story , good literature does not have to be depressing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Unique Boy and his Dog(s) story.

    I enjoyed the story it was simple yet deep. The author provided intiresting perspectives. Spoiler alert: I found the ending deeply dissapointing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ending a bit disappointing

    Overall the book was decent. I did listen to the audio as I have a long drive to work. The reader was very good by the way. Anyways, the book itself was very detailed and the author did a decent job of describing details such as the house and barn (where most of the story takes place). The ending was a bit disappointing though. Edgar never got to tell his mom about Claude, he never found the poison substance. It just baffles me that the author would put so much effort into Edgar finding the poison only to have him just die in the end. As far as the characters go, it was very original. You get attached to Edgar and even Claude. I wish he had included Henry more into the story than he did. He was a good character and to just see him drive away like that seemed odd. Overall I would still recommend the book, but I would not read/listen to it twice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

    This book was extremely well written and I definately enjoyed it's characters and plot. However, this book was slow for me and I will only reccommend it to people who have time on them because this isn't exactly a weekend book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    Loved the first half, but down hill from there.

    I agree with several other reviews. I loved Edgar's character and the relationship he had with Almondine. I plodded through the second half of the book and was thoroughly disappointed with the ending...I don't think the author knew how to wrap things up to provide a credible ending. Will not recommend this book to others as I would hate for them to waste their time as well.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    The characters deserved a better ending

    I really enjoyed the book until the last couple of chapters. After getting into all the character's heads (including the dogs) I felt that the ending made their lives somewhat pointless. I am not saying that all books should have happy ever after endings, just that the endings should give a sense of closure. The descriptions of the dogs were wonderful. Anyone who has ever made a 'connection' with a dog will enjoy the glimpse of the day to day training of these special dogs. Edgar himself is also a very compelling character and I felt the black despair the author conveyed in the telling of his father's death. Even the 'bad' character (the Uncle) is well written. Again, I wished for a better ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    Terrible ending

    I really did love the book until the end. I did find myself skimming through some of the more lengthy descriptions of scenery, etc, but the story kept me motivated. I kept waiting for something/someone to save Edgar in the end, unfortunately it didn't happen. I also didn't quite 'get' the very end...did Essay head, with all the dogs, to Henry's house? What does anyone think?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    There are more inspirational books

    I think this is great for the author, I am sure he is thrilled. But, why doesn't Oprah and her staff look at books that the masses love and the 'big guys' reject? How about looking at 'The Meeting of Anni Adams' That is a true story, a biogrpahy of an amazing woman with an amazing life. The female versio of Forest Gump! That is a book Oprah should read and endorse!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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