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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,055 Ratings  ·  759 Reviews
If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head. As formative events go, nothing else comes close.

With these words Edgar Mint, half-Apache and mostly orphaned, makes his unshakable claim on our attention. In the course of Brady Udall’s high-spirited, inexhaustibly inventive novel, Edgar survives no
Paperback, 428 pages
Published May 21st 2002 by Vintage Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Scott Axsom
Feb 15, 2014 Scott Axsom rated it it was amazing
Is there a word for that sweet spot a great author hits with the “voice” of his story - the one that lulls you into believing you’re leaving this world and entering his? Some writers hit it, off and on, throughout various works and, if they do it often enough, we ascribe to them the descriptors of greatness. But, what if the writer hits it from page one and never loses it? What do we call it then? Whatever the word, Brady Udall finds it, and keeps it, in The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, perhaps t ...more
Nov 08, 2010 j rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, 52-in-2010
If there is a fictional trope I could probably do without it is the precocious child narrator. I can only read so many books about weirdly bookish children with a story to tell, or a life of destiny to live. And yet it seems like every time you turn around, there is a new one being trumpeted for its "unique, pitch-perfect voice," sometimes by me. Yeah, maybe I like some of these books (or not especially), and I'm even planning to read one soon that is over 1,000 pages long fergoshsakes. But in g ...more
Larry Bassett
Jul 30, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claudia Kieselhorst
Jun 23, 2011 Claudia Kieselhorst rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those few books that should not have any details disclosed about it - no spoiler alerts, no hints, no outlines or summaries. I would even vote to remove the descriptions from the back covers of every copy in existence. Here's why...

The beauty of this story comes from the reader's innocence and the display of curiosity and interest that occurs with every turn of the page. If I divulged even the tiniest detail, it would surely remove one of the magical sparks of this book, and for t
Feb 11, 2008 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess the best way to put this is to say that the things I liked about this novel make up for the things I didn't.
Interesting protagist. Excellent pace. Funny when it should be and kind of depressing when it shouldn't. For the most part, Udall should be given credit for making so much that doesn't seem like it could ever happen seem like a natural progression in the life of his characters.

By the end, however, I was feeling a bit of the old "Oh, come on!" by the novel's turn of events. I was a
May 15, 2009 Ender rated it it was amazing
I love to be so pleasantly surprised by a book. Reading something like this is difficult, because I struggle greatly with obvious injustice, but there was the constant comfort of Edgar's attitude telling me that it was all okay.

I love the way there was so little happening, and yet so much happening at the same time. I loved the way Edgar seemed to be oblivious to so many little nuances of what was happening, yet, even though he was the story teller, the reader knew EXACTLY what was going on.

Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
Having read Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist earlier this year and having been blown away by it (I gave that one also 5 stars out of 5), I knew I simply had to get ahold of the rest of his books and see if The Lonely Polygamist was a fluke of genius or if Udall really IS that good. Well, by the time I was only a few pages into this book, I was convinced that Udall really IS that good. So good, in fact, that he has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

As with Polygamist, this book was one where
Feb 17, 2008 Leighanne rated it it was amazing
Certainly the best book I've read in some time. A year or so ago a woman put the book in my hands and said, read this; it's amazing. I filed it away, so innondated as I was with the pile of books-to-be-read. Then a few weeks ago I attended a booksellers conferance and a speaker on handselling referenced it, saying he loved the book so much that he and his bookstore sold 400 in hardcover and 1,100 in paperback. That is a lot of love.
So, I sat down with Edgar Mint one afternoon and didn't move f
Mar 22, 2015 Mmars rated it it was amazing

Brady Udall's character Edgar Mint is a survivor. As in "one who survives." By all means he should have been dead, would sometimes rather have been dead, and rarely took action to avert situations in which he could have died. At seven years of age he wakes from a coma unable to remember his life to that point. A mail truck had run over his head and he had been rescued by Barry, a young, unethical and rogue doctor whose sole purpose in life is to save Edgar from that fateful day forward. But
Jun 30, 2011 Gwen rated it it was amazing
Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I must admit I was leery for a while, for my mind had no clue as to what little boys and young men think about. It was hard for me to get past the "initiation" type activities of school mates. This book was so intriguing, the author knows how to grab your attention, and equally important, how to hold it. As I read I always have questions and he answered them, all of them. I finally get to add something to my favorites shelf. I will definitely be looking for m ...more
Jul 08, 2013 Brennan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It is going to be tough to write a review to do this book justice. Here is what I can tell you about it. The writing is rich. The characters are so unqiue and real, it is a wonder to get to know them all. The story is brilliantly woven through time and history to maximize the impact on the reader. The book explores the biggest themes and questions we face - how we make sense of tragedy, how we understand loss, what it means to be human, how religion can become a part of our existence, and how we ...more
May 29, 2010 Cindi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
After reading a review of Udall's newest novel "The Loneliest Polygamist", I was intrigued, did a little research regarding the author and discovered his acclaimed novel "The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint".

Edgar Mint is an authentic and sympathetic character. He is lovable. I found myself rooting for him during all the unfortunate events of his young life. Following an accident in which seven-year-old Edgar's head is crushed by a mail jeep, Edgar is brought back to life and the "miracles" continue.
Udall chronicles the life of one odd little boy, Edgar Mint. He is subjective to a number of hardships starting with an absent father and an alcoholic mother, but things go downhill fast for him from there. Most painful are the chapters about his years at a boarding school for troubled Native American kids. He is brutally bullied and either ostracized or coerced into criminal behavior by a couple of hoodlums who are older, bigger and more brutal than he. Year after year people close to him disap ...more
May 11, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Edgar Mint's childhood mission is locating the mailman who ran over his head as a child. He wants to assure him that he's OK.
This mission is the focus of Brady Udall's The Miracle of Edgar Mint. The author's inspiration to write Edgar's story developed from something much less painful than having his head run over, although possibly equally as dramatic.

The peculiar story that gave Udall the framework to work was sparked when his then girlfriend, now wife, revealed she was dating another man. S
Mar 22, 2010 Denice rated it really liked it
I picked this up as an audiobook from because Brady Udall is going to be one of the featured speakers at The Festival of Faith and Writing for which I had registered. I'd not heard of the book nor the author, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Throughout the book, I wavered back and forth between, "Wow. I can't wait to hear what happens next," and "Good Lord, I can't listen to another minute of this." Being one who is not a big fan of profanity or flippant references to sex in a book, I
Jul 18, 2008 Savanna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone, but especially to people who get bored with the kinds of books assigned in English classes.
Recommended to Savanna by: An English professor at the college I was about to attend
Shelves: favorites
This is an absolutely delightful, enthralling novel. I read it during my last month in high school--in hardcover. It all starts when the protagonist gets run over by a mail truck on his reservation as a small child. More specifically, his head gets run over. That sounds like an awful place to start, but it's perfect.

I have distinct memories of reading this book during calculus, after we'd taken the AP. In those last weeks of the year, we were still required to go to calculus class even though t
Jan 09, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
Sometimes I lament the limitations of the Goodreads rating system. Three stars means I liked it? Well, I didn't like it. I mostly hated it. Many sections made me cringe. I frequently had to close the book and try to think fluffy-rainbow-unicorn thoughts. And yet it was compelling--well thought-out and well-written. I did struggle with the frequent change in point-of-view. I want to trust that the author had good reason for employing such a technique, some sort of mirror to Edgar's psyche and the ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Aug 25, 2013 Elizabeth (Alaska) rated it really liked it
I read this enough years ago that writing a decent review is no longer possible. It has one of the most interesting first lines. "If you only know one thing about me it is that the postman ran over my head when I was 7." Or something near that (did I say it's been awhile since I read it?). Obviously, Edgar survives his head being run over by the postman.

I came across the title when looking at a listopia and remembered I'd read it, that I enjoyed reading it. I even remember a lot of the march to
May 04, 2015 Holly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
oh lordy.

I bought a copy of this when it came out because it was by someone I knew (and liked) and about the part of the world where I'm from. I grew up about an hour from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation (and even taught high school there as an adult).

And I really disliked this book. My main reaction was pretty much, "Oh, come on!" Seriously? It's not enough for the protagonist just to be an unfortunate kid from the rez--there are plenty of those--no, he has to have had his skull crush
Aine O'Mahoney
Apr 06, 2009 Aine O'Mahoney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edgar Mint

One thing that saves the Miracle life of Edgar Mint from being an uphill struggle is the boy himself, Edgar. He is an exceptional individual who has more to deal with than any kid ever should, but he rolls with the punches and get on with life in his own inimatible way.

Some of the characters and situations Edgar encounters are of a very sinister nature but Udall never portrays them as such, even the darkest moments in Edgars life are smacked with humour. You find yourself smiling at t
Oct 06, 2011 Glenda rated it it was amazing
Half Apache and mostly orphaned, Edgar's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. From the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family, comedy, pain, and trouble accompany Edgar through a string of larger-than-life experiences. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.
I fell in love with
Jun 02, 2013 5inabus rated it it was amazing
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is the Perfect Novel. Here is a list of the essential components of the Perfect Novel :

1) The Perfect Novel is almost impossible to review well.

Case in point
This review, clearly. For better summaries I recommend Scott's equally glowing but much more coherent review. For a quick synopsis, the back blurb has put into words what I cannot: "Half-Apache and mostly orphaned, the adventures of Edgar Presely Mint begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven when th
Feb 16, 2010 Mimi rated it it was amazing
I started this story on the Amtrak trip back from Montreal, finishing of the book on that 10 hour journey. The rest took me one more day. Couldn’t put it down!

This is a 5-star tale of Edgar Mint, a young half-Apache whose earliest memory is waking up from a coma which resulted from the mailman running over his head when he was 7-years-old. Abandoned by his drunken mother and left-for-dead by all he knew, Edgar was an orphan left to fend for himself in the worlds of the substandard St. Divine ho
Mar 09, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
For a week I have been debating what to rate this. 4 or 5? 4.5? No, that isn't an option. 4 or 5? I'm going with five.

What I LOVED about this book is it's honesty. This isn't an autobiography, but there is stuff in this book that couldn't be written without personal experience. I feel the author's vulnerability through his characters. My heart was open wide during the whole read.

There is language in it, but the language is honest too. Swearing was used in situations, because the situation dema
Jun 25, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it
I'd probably give this 3.5 stars, but it wasn't quite enough to convince me to round up to 4 (so I guess I should say 3.4 starts to keep things consistent mathematically). I read this book because of how much I enjoyed The Lonely Polygamist. There were elements of Udall's that I enjoyed in that book present in this one, but it didn't quite touch the same nerve.

Early on this book reminded me of one of my favorites - A Prayer for Owen Meany - and that might have been a downfall before I even got g
Oct 12, 2013 Sherri rated it really liked it
It was really hard for me to rate this book. Truth be told, I would have rated the first two thirds a "3," and the final third a "4." I'm going with the "4" because that is where it ended. The story is launched by a horrible and absurdly dark event. In the first two thirds of the book, Brady leans too heavily on absurdity and pathetic and down-and-out characters to carry the story. This didn't work for me. I was sometimes bored and sometimes horrified, but never fully engaged by the story. It wa ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite books. It's not as easy as one might think, to pick up a book that is literally hard to pull away from, but this is one of those books. I read it on the bus commute to and from work, on my lunch hours and in the dark of night when my insomnia kicked in.
It begins much like a Sherman Alexie story...and builds from there.
A young Apache boy who, due to trauma, has no memory of his early years (and consequently, you don't either...there is no 'filler')and many eccentric
Sara Warner
Aug 22, 2013 Sara Warner rated it it was amazing
The Miracle of Writing

It feels like there isn't a whole lot to say about The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. I took a long time reading it--no page turner, this. Instead, a layering up of the confusion and violence and searching that make up the truth of childhood, keenly wrought, with a restraint rare and beautiful to find in a writer.

Brady Udall has a way with the everyday--the quiet, behind-the-scenes horrors that are the stunning landscape of life--bullies, family disfunction, sexual angst, mis-
Karen A.
Mar 02, 2011 Karen A. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
How I wanted this one to go on. I was very sorry to let Edgar go. Edgar, a half breed, whose head is crushed by a mail truck at the young age of seven, is one of the most compelling innocents to come along for some time. I would put this character up with Pip. Again, Mr. Udall, uses the American West, specifically Arizona and Utah, as his back drop. But really it is his intimate knowledge of the nooks and crannies of this deceptively empty desert that serves as an unforgiving shaper of little Ed ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very strong 4 1/2 stars. I waited so long to review it, because I was debating on giving it 5 stars. If I had read it at a different time in my life, when I could spend more quality time with the book, I feel sure it would have been a 5 star. I laughed out loud and I cried. The novel draws you in from the very first sentence and takes you on a beautiful ride. The characters are built wonderfully and the author places his words so carefully. So different from anything I have read in a l ...more
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edgar mint 4 44 Feb 28, 2012 08:05AM  
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Brady Udall grew up in a large Mormon family in Arizona, where he worked on his grandfather's farm. He graduated from Brigham Young University and later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

He was formerly a faculty member of Franklin & Marshall College starting in 1998, then Southern Illinois University, and now teaches writing at Boise State University.

A collection of his short stories titl
More about Brady Udall...

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“There was one difference I would come to realize, between white kids and Indians. Among white kids there are tattletales everywhere. Indians? An Indian wouldn't tattle to save his own mother. Indians, over the years, have learned the value of keeping their mouths shut.” 3 likes
“I typed becasue I had to. I typed because I was afraid I might disappear." --Edgar Mint” 1 likes
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