The Story of Edgar Sawtelle The Story of Edgar Sawtelle discussion


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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

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Linda I am very interested in hearing what readers have to say about this book--especially the ending.

I'm kind of torn between saying it was GREAT, and "huh? what happened?"


Lisa I also felt a "huh, what happened?" moment with this book. It was a beautiful read, with exquisite writing, but the ending left me a bit baffled.


message 3: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara I plan on starting this book very soon..from what I read in other reviews, it sounds very interesting....at least till the ending!


Lisa Tamara,

Even the ending was worth a read - it is a book where the characters are haunting in how beautifully they are developed. The ending is well . . . unique in its own way. Hope you enjoy the book.



Chris  Corrado I really liked this book but was totally expecting a different ending. This was not the way I wanted it to end.


Rita I agree about the ending, but if this is really a modern day Hamlet, there can be no other way.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I am glad I am not the only one who is a bit bewildered by the ending. Even so, I absolutely the loved the book and am recommending it to everyone I know. I can't agree with the "Hamlet" comparison - all the reviews keep aligning this book with other classics. I think Wroblewski has written his own classic. My take on the ending (after many hours of deliberation!) is that there is so much more to life - here on earth and whatever comes after. IF - of course, we embrace it with everything we have as Edgar, his father, and Almondine did.


Lisa I like your comments about embracing life with everything we have. Almondine was such a central character in the novel, and even though she was a dog, she definitely deserves to be listened to. : )


Chris  Corrado I definitely recommend. We just can't tell you the ending!


message 10: by Kate (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kate M In my opinion, the author painted himself into a corner. The ending would have seemed too saccharine otherwise. What we wanted to happen, in a way, happened, but not without some loss.

And it contributes to a greater theme-- vengeance doesn't heal wounds. It reopens them, so infection can fester.


message 11: by Karey (last edited Sep 30, 2008 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karey I'm only up to Part II, so this is still an intriguing, mesmerizing journey into Edgar's life, and Almondine's for that matter. Now I'm curious about the ending!

For anyone who's interested, we've got a discussion going on here: http://www.goodrehttp://www.goodreads...


message 12: by Someone (last edited Oct 04, 2008 04:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Someone  Youmayknow Totally agreeing with Kate here. The author,though mechanically talented, did "paint himself into a corner". He spun a yarn with nowhere to take it. This story started out with a great,if obvious metaphor, sprinkled in a few parts of symbolism and then drifted into the supernatural when the rest of plot just did not seem to present itself.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book but it is in no way a classic. Simply a good read. Not a great read, even tedious in parts.


Carla I was very dissappointed in the ending, as a matter of fact, what was the ending, there was no closure to anything or anyone. I have a problem with reading any of Oprah's books, she raves on, and I have always been dissappointed. Pillairs of the earth I read years ago, it was a great read, she just endorsed it, give me a break. This is the last time I listen to her testiments!


message 14: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW PARTS OF WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK!
I must say I am disappointed in this book! I guess I expected a lot because of Oprah's enthusiasm. I did like lots of aspects of it - the sweet mute boy, Edgar, and all the dogs and dog training. i love dogs, so I found that all fascinating. I just didn't get parts of the story line. I didn't think it went together. It didn't make sense to me. i have so many unanswered questions. How did Almondine die? Car hit her while looking for Edgar? Don't you think she would have been trained about cars - Sawtelle dogs are so well trained? Why did Edgar see his ghost father in the rain and never again? What was his father trying to tell him about Hachiko? What was up with that? Why did Edgar see another dead farmer guy in Henry's barn? Why did 2 of the dogs choose to stay with Henry? They had known Edgar for over a year - and Henry for a few days or a week. They wouldn't have stayed with him over Edgar. Why couldn't Trudy get away from a blind Glen. A frantic mother should be pretty dang strong! I'm sure I could have found a way to escape to get to my son. I just didn't buy a lot of this. I didn't think it made sense. It could have been so much better. Maybe someone could enlighten me. Maybe I missed some key ingredients here!



Meaghan Booth I agree with everything said before! I am glad I wasn't the only one that didn't quite "get" the ending... My favorite character was Almondine and perhaps the most annoying part for me was not knowing how she died.. Claude and Edgar I get, but why not tell us what happened to Almondine?!?


Carla once again can anyone tell me what happened to the mother at the end, it reads like she died, did she? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.


message 17: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara Meaghan,
I believe Almondine died of old age...she and Edgar pretty much grew up together and by the time he was a teen, she was pretty old for dog years...or she was hit by a car.


message 18: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara I think the weakest part of the book was the ending...it was kind of like, oh, no I gotta end this thing....


message 19: by Rita (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita If we carry the whole Hamlet thing to it's farthest connection, Almondene was Ophelia.
She therefore - and this is really off the wall, but I think it's correct - commit suicide. Instead of drowning, she got hit by a truck.



message 20: by Beth (last edited Oct 24, 2008 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth No, she didn't die. (the mother I mean) She just had to watch everything happen around her. She couldn't get away from Glen.


message 21: by Rita (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita I think she did sie. When Edgar came back she wasn't there and his mom had to tell him where she was buried.


Dinah Almondine died. She was very old, depressed and maybe a bit senile. She wandered out on the road and got hit by a car. That part of the book was told from her point of view. It may have been unclear because she was unclear.
The mother, Trudy, ended up alone and alive.


Kclark I assumed that Almondine gave up and died of a broken heart. She thought Edgar was lost to her. If she was hit by a car, it totally went over my head. (frankly, I would assume she was too smart for that) I assume Edgar/Almondine were reunited in the spirit world with his father. I wish that the ending was more fulfilling.


Colhobbs This is such an obvious retelling of Hamlet! I saw it right off the bat and so nothing that happened thereafter was surprising to me. If you don't think so, go back and read, or re-read, Hamlet.


message 25: by Claire (new)

Claire Kasinadhuni All of these comments are aggravating me so I decided to make an account so I could comment back. This is the best book I have ever read, mind you I am a senior, so the amount of books I have read is probably smaller than the average user. I just want to answer some questions and maybe give light to the ending...
First, Almandine had to die. It would have been such a silly ending if Edgar goes back to a happy house with his sole mate. It would simply not be realistic. She is old and her world has been destroyed. If you read her perspective compared to the human characters, you can see that her world is written in people not objects or events. Edgar Sawtelle is her world and her true love in a sense-- she cannot live without him. So she ends up dying not because she's dumb and she doesn't know a car has the power to take her life but because why should she go on when her boy is gone, Gar is dead and she is too old and helpless to do anything about it? Almondine dies because she does not know what else to do.

Many people seem to be confused about the weird ghosts-- something I too was/am a bit confused about. However I think a big motif in this story is haunting- similar to Hamlet- and it is just part of the book. The ghosts are there to remind us of loss and of sacrifice and of many things. Death was a big part in this book and I think these work together to give us a deep and rich book.

The dogs going to Henry- definitely a key part in this book. This was when everything changed for Edgar, he realizes the point of Sawtelle dogs. They are training them to choose and Henry is what they chose. It was the sweetest and saddest part of the book in my opinion and I loved every second of it.

I would love to hear more about people's opinions, this page doesn't seem that active anymore but if anyone's out there, respond away!!


Abigail I am surprised at the very negative reviews this book received. I know an author can't please everyone, but it was still a shock to read some of the comments.

I read, and re-read part of this book just this year and was very captivated. I didn't know it was an Oprah book club read. I don't pay much attention to that "book plug" anyway.
I was wary of the whole "Hamlet" retelling, but was gladly mistaken. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but also beautiful. I agree that it is a very long book, at times I wished there were fewer characters, as each one got many chapters. But it is a very good read by my standards and well worth the time spent wandering the woods with Edgar and the dogs.


message 27: by lauren (new)

lauren lese I have just finished the book and although I loved it while I was reading it (until the last 20 pages or so), all I feel now is anger. To create a story so rich, and then leave so many elements unexplored is unforgivable. It is a novel. It is not a poem and not a biography.
But that pales in light of the death of Edgar and the apparent ruination of Trudy. Yes, I know about the Hamlet thing but that is irrelevant. Most of the story is not related to anything in Hamlet and much of Hamlet is not represented here. There was no need to kill off Edgar just because Hamlet dies. And I'm sorry, for this book to work, Edgar needs to live. Hamlet did not need to live for his story to work but Edgar does. When Claude gets the needle into Edgar - not just Edgar dies. This book dies. The entire story becomes meaningless. I have never been so angry or felt that an (admittedly very talented) author was saying a big FU to his readers like this. Seems the author is more Claude than Gar.


message 28: by Amie (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amie I absolutely adored this book! I found it slow in the beginning, but it hooked me about 2/3 in and I remained completely engaged (and touched, and sad, and fascinated) until the very last page. I didn't find the ending disappointing, though it's been a while so I'd have to revisit.


message 29: by Tom (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom After seeing the book at Costco a few years ago for a protracted period I bought it and it sat on the shelf for a year or two. When I finally got around to reading, and finishing, the book I realized why I had not purchased it, and read it sooner.

I thought it plodding and tedious and thankful I was done, done, done. I don't know if the author has other books but if I his name and this book referenced somehow I will not be picking it up.


message 30: by Amie (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amie So interesting how polar these reactions are! And btw it hooked me 1/3 of the ways in, not 2/3... misleading typo.


Cynthia Coronado I loved reading the book until I got to the end. Horrible ending. After detailing Edgar's whole life, the author all of a sudden quickly kills his dad and his dog with a ridiculous scenario and makes his mother helpless and stupid.


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