How many times I laughed out loud: Several
How many times I cried: Once (Really Hard at the end)
How many Ah-Hah moments: Once
It took David Wroblewski about ten years to complete his novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and I can attest, it was time well spent! There have even been rumors for several years that Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks would eventually co-produce a movie, based on this novel, and what a GREAT movie it would be! What an amazing and brilliant novel, which reminds us all of the deeply meaningful friendships we have the ability to create with animals, especially dogs. This book touches readers on so many emotional levels, I promise you, it will touch YOU in some personal way, whether it be about family, loss, animal friendships, pain or struggling to find the meaning of your life, I promise you, you will identify on a personal level with this story in one way or another.
Before committing to this read, make sure you have the time to focus on this intricate story. This is a long novel too, 562 pages to be exact, and every word is perfectly placed, carrying you from scene to scene seemlessly, the hallmark of a great book. Wroblewski clearly labored over this work for years to bring it to the body of perfection it is. As you turn page after page, you can almost feel the passion and dedication Wroblewski had for his story as he wrote it. I love that!
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle draws you in immediately and holds your attention throughout, which can be a difficult task for an author with a book of this length, but Wroblewski pulls it off! As the story kicks off, Edgar Sawtelle is born mute, speaking only in sign, which I found quite interesting and engaging. As the reader, I always found myself on Edgar’s side, always his cheerleader as he tried to communicate with other characters. Right from the get go, you care deeply for Edgar, which I enjoyed. The young boy leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin, but that idyllic life doesn’t last very long, once “Uncle Claude” comes for a visit. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised dogs, and are known throughout their community for how well-trained and beautiful their dogs are. Among the dogs, Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend. You quickly learn to love Almondine and her dedication to Edgar, and secretly wish she were your own dog! But, with Claude, Edgar's paternal (evil) uncle, turmoil and discord quickly overcomes the Sawtelles' once happy and peaceful home, and when Edgar's father passes away unexpectedly, Claude forces himself into the life of the farm and sleazily into Edgar's mother's heart. This proves the beginning of the end for Edgar, but as the reader there is nothing you can do to save him, and it makes you feel helpless for this fictional character. Edgar tries desperately to prove his sadistic Uncle Claude played a role in his father's death. This is when Edgar takes off into the uncharted forest just behind the family farm, and Edgar comes into his own, in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who loyally followed him into unknown, and oftentimes scary territory. Eventually, his yearning to confront his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs lead Edgar back home.
This book is great entertainment, and you will learn to care about the fate of the characters long after you put the book down. I highly recommend this book, but make sure you have tissues handy when you come close to the end... trust me! Great author! Great read!