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Book Club – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

January 25, 2009
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I host a monthly book club at my local library.   Our selection for this month is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  We’ll be meeting tomorrow night, so I’ll probably post about whatever dessert I take then, but for now I’ll talk books.

I had first heard about this novel on NPR, then I read some good reviews and decided to give it a try for book club.  The next thing I knew, Oprah jumped on our bandwagon and chose it as her book pick too!  Who knew she had her finger on the pulse of my tiny community library.

Anyway, from all I’d read and heard about The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I expected to love it way more than I did.  It’s been toted as a new version of Hamlet, and you’ll certainly see the similarities – even in the names of characters.

The story revolves around Edgar, who is born mute and speaks by signing.  For generations, his family has breeded and raised dogs, known as “Sawtelle dogs.”  When Edgar’s uncle returns home, tensions flare up between him and Edgar’s father.  When Edgar’s father suddenly dies, Edgar suspects that Claude is involved, but needs proof.  The coming-of-age story follows Edgar as he tries to prove that his father was indeed murdered.

Now, that’s a good plot – full of suspense and mystery – and there were plenty of times I enjoyed the novel.   Yet, by midway through, I started to feel annoyed with where it was going.  Once I hit that point, I wasn’t even all that terribly interested in reading it anymore.  It became pretty clear that there wasn’t much chance for a happy ending, which is fine – I don’t always need a happy ending.  But some justice would have been nice.  Answering some of the unanswered questions would have been nice.  It just kind of left me flat, so I’m looking forward to book club to hear what everyone else thought about it.

If you get the chance to read this book too, I’d love to hear what you think.

– Shell

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