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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Average Rating 3.5
( 922 )
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5 Star

(332)

4 Star

(205)

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(161)

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(120)

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(104)

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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 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
  • 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 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    An unforgettable experience

    I slowed down while reading, just to make the book last longer, what a wonderful, heartfelt book!!! I cried alot!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    WELL DONE!

    I was intimidated by the size of the book and the "boy and his dog" reviews I had heard. Once I actually opened the book and started reading, I was immediately taken on a spiritual journey through myriad emotions. His descriptions of the scenery, the weather, the people, and the animals heightened all my senses. I could see, feel and smell every sentence.<BR/>I confess that I am a reader who likes to have everything tied up neatly in a bow at the end of my stories. This book ended as it should. It will not leave me for a long time. I am greatly impressed by this author. I heard it took a long time for him to write this book. It was well worth the wait. Well done! Animal lovers and bibliophiles will not be disappointed.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    My first review!

    I am an avid reader and enjoy reading other people review books. I just finished this book and I was eager to tell folks that this is the best book I believe I have ever read. I just purchased two more copies for my friends for Christmas. The prose is so moving, I cannot fully explain. I am NOT a dog person, but was deeply touched by the characters. I will recommend this to everyone! Definitely an addition to my permanent library.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2008

    The new Classic

    Excellent read. Please give it a chance and remember it is the author's choice to decide the ending.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    Incredibly Moving Story

    I have been reading for fifty years, and never, never has a book touched me like this one. The minute I finished it, I picked it back up and reread the last 7 chapters. It's been a month since I read it, and I still think of the story every day. Astounding, incredible writing for a first novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!!

    This book has it all. Great writing, wonderful characters, and a classical plot line. I didn't want to finish it, and it's been hard to let go.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    There is nothing I can say...

    Except read this book. One of the best I have read in years. The writing is superb and the story unique...don't miss this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2008

    amazing read

    This is by far the best book that I have read in a long time, use your imagination regarding the ending, I feel sad that I will not longer be a part of these characters.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    A story with great heart and soul!

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle lives up to all the hype that surrounds it. For more go to YouTube and look up BobsBooks.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    book to read where ever you are

    The writer writes the book very detailed and gives you imagination what goes on the story. If you read it once and you should read it again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    The best I've read in years

    I love dogs. I can't help it. My mom told me in was in my genes. Therefore I was naturally drawn to this book 'before Oprah'I feel like before anyone. I also teach our special population so Edgar was a natural for me. I am an avid reader and so I thought I could get through this book quickly. I was so wrong. This piece is so beautifully written, I wanted to go slow. Every time I finished a page, I wanted to read it again. I was there in the forest with Edgar, in his bedroom with Almodine, as he worked his dogs, everywhere, I was with him. He seemed wise beyond his years. I was pleased when Oprah named Edgar as her book only because I know that, alone, encourages people to read it. I wish everyone 'especially in these trying times' could experience what I felt through every word in this remarkable book. Read it slow, savor it, enjoy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    Compelling

    From the Prologue to the last page, this book had me by the heart. I couldn't let go of this story while wondering where it might be heading. It IS detailed but those descriptions are crucial for the plot development and complex characters. His characterization is phenomenal. I haven't read a book this good in years. My friend at work started the book last week at the same that I did. We texted each other throughout our readings and couldn't wait to discuss our thoughts the next day at work. I was shocked at some of the negative reviews. I think some readers just didn't get it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    Great Idea

    I loved this book. It was original with the dogs and the training style and Edgar's "mutism". I loved how he communicated with both humans and dogs. He was bright and interesting. I loved his growth. Lovers of communication and family relationships and dogs each would love this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    Could not put down

    Loved this book and finished it in a few readings. I am sad, now, that I am done with it. It is so beautifully written. Warming: Do Not Read the Book Cover Flap that gives a preview. It tells too much. This story is in the same category as Secret Life of Bees and Kite Runner since it has a young person as the central character. What other books are out there that others recommend now that my appetite is thirsty for more good literatur?e

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Entertaining! Mystifying! Electrifying!

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is one of the best books I have ever read, and I will read it again. The depths of the human spirit revealed in this book enlarges the mind, and warms the heart. Wroblewski is awesome in developing his characters and the story. I hope he is already writing a second novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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