Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Destruction, Disaster, Armageddon, No Hope At All!

That is my summary of this book!  Before I go and say some good things about The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I would like to make a definite statement that this would not be a good book club read - at least not the kind of book club I would like to enjoy, where the novel is considered a work of art that has the ability to help enhance and understand our own lives through member relationships and discussion. 

First, it was well written, set in a rural Wisconsin dog breeding and training farm.  Nice, right?  Then, let us make this even more interesting with great and unusual characters.  As this 560 page novel worms its way into the reader's life, he/she learns to care for these wonderful characters.  The most interesting is Edgar, a mute boy who is quite literate in writing and signing.  Almondine, Edgar's closest friend and canine nurse maid, has a true voice in the story.  There are other interesting dogs and Edgar's caring parents, Trudy and Gar.  Time is spent developing the history of the family and the farm.  Wroblewski even gives us a great plot with the addition of a villain, Uncle Claude!  All these pieces make a wonderful story.

Now, let me explain why this book ticked me off so much.  In the last chapter, he totally ruins his plot, the tale's mood, and any hope for any of the characters. I would never suggest to an author that his ending should change.  After all, this is fiction, the authors slate, to do with as he pleases.  Frankly though, I feel betrayed by this book's ending, to the point that twenty years from now, if I have the pleasure of still being part of the human race, I will remember the horrible ending to this book - it was that dramatic.  I will never again read another book by Wroblewski.  Others can enjoy his art, and then see him throw a stinky dog turd right into the middle of the Mona Lisa.  Crap.  I won't make the same mistake twice.

Since this blog is about good books to read, I would like to suggest Watership Down.  This classic book, published in 1972, is an excellent read about talking rabbits who have been displaced from their warren by a farmer.  This novel is totally worth the 608 page reader investment.  It is a classic that can be reread with great pleasure.  So, readers, spend your time reading something that is truly a great book.  Though talking rabbits sounds crazy, the book is really about human nature and ethics and is enjoyable for adults as well as high school students.