Barbara's Reviews > The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
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's review
Sep 15, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: book-club
Read in October, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I lost sleep reading and thinking about this book. It's so descriptive I literally felt like a movie was playing out in my head. The storyline is multifaceted and complex. I kept thinking I should pay close attention to all the details because I was sure the author was weaving a complex tapestry that would unfold in a satisfying way. Instead I was left feeling absolutely devastated. There was no justice for Edgar and things literally burn up in the end.
I enjoyed many aspects of this book but I'm left wondering about so many things. Why did Edgar's mother deserve all the tragedy? What was Claude's motivation as a murderer? What was the point of the dog breeding debate in the letters? What was Forte's significance and why did Edgar not follow the fortune teller's advice? ??? much has left me wondering I could go on and on.
The author is brilliant in his descriptions of time and place and the relationships between dogs and humans. I cared deeply for Edgar, his family, and the Sawtelle dogs. While a book doesn't have to a happy ending to satisfy me, I really wished this one had turned out better for the characters I came to know and love.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Therese Hi Barbara -

You will have to keep me posted as to whether you like this book or not. My sister is also currently reading it and likes it very much so far. I really liked this book!

Take care -

Barbara I'm enjoying it! Thanks for your comments. Did you see that Oprah chose it as her current book club pick? has Q&A with the author. This morning I read through some of the comments on the Oprah website. Good stuff.

By the did you like The Memory Keeper's Daughter?

Smiles, Barb

Therese The Memory Keeper's Daughter was not one of my favorites. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and kept questioning the things that they did, especially the father.

I'm about half way through A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and it's finally gotten a little interesting. I guess I'll keep going.

Sorry I didn't write back right away. Take care -


Barbara I felt exactly the same way about Memory Keeper's Daughter!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorites so I hope you end up liking it. I think Betty Smith is a gifted writer because of the vivid imagery and memorable characters she created. I'm reading it for the second time and enjoying it even more. : )


message 5: by Barbara (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barbara Hi Therese,
Now that I've finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle I have to tell you thanks for your glowing review or I may not have picked up this book. It left me with many questions and I didn't like the ending. Seeing that it parallels Hamlet I guess it would have to be very tragic! I thought it was going to be a coming-of-age, feel-good story about a boy and his dogs but it is very much a Shakespearean tragedy. I'm glad you liked so much. I love hearing other perspectives. : )
Take care -

Therese I felt the same way about this book. I guess the biggest one for me was Claude - like you said, why was he like this. Obviously I wanted Edgar to confront him and win. I loved the part where Edgar trains the dogs to bring the syringe. That is the closest to Edgar besting Claude.

I loved that there were so many stories within this book. Probably my favorite part was when Edgar ran away because at first I kept thinking how is he going to take care of himself and the dogs, but he does. Did you ever wonder why Edgar didn't have any friends his own age?

Too much to think about and write about - we'll have to talk about it in person! I'm glad you liked this book!


Barbara Of all the things I wondered about I hadn't questioned why Edgar didn't have friends his own age. That is such a good point! The dogs were his only friends. It was amazing how he was able to take care of himself and the dogs in the two months he was away from home. I worried about their welfare during that time and was so relieved when they made it home safely.
If I could rewrite the ending to my satisfaction: Claude and Edgar have a struggle and the syringe pokes Claude killing him. Claude burns up in the barn while Edgar escapes to join his mom in safety. The dogs stay, Glen's eyes heal and Henry somehow finds them and becomes part of their lives.
How about that?!

Abigail I didn't thing Edgar's mother deserved the tragedy. But everyone knows that person who seems to have all the bad things happen to her. I know somebody like that and she certainly doesn't deserve it. The book is a tragedy and I was prepared for it to end with most of the main characters dying, but if you weren't ready for that I guess it was probably a jolt.
As far as Claude is concerned he is just a sociopath. They happen in the best of families. He is a classic example. They appear normal but are expert manipulators and seem to have little or no conscience. They pretend to care like other people do but really don't feel much of anything except possibly fear of getting caught. He kills to get what he wants because that's what he wants. He admits he doesn't care about Edgar or want him around. Some added PTSD would probably only make the problem worse.

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