Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Story of Edward Sawtelle by David Wroblewski * * *

Edgar Sawtelle is fourteen and you might say he's having the worst year of his life. First, he discovers his father dying in the kennel where the family, since his great-grandfather, raises and trains dogs - Sawtelle Dogs. He is helpless to call for help to their remote farm in northern Wisconsin because he is dumb and can only communicate by sign language. As the story unfolds, he suspects his uncle to have murdered his father, but can't say anything to his mother because she has taken the uncle into her bed. One thing leads to another and he runs away from home.

The Story of Edward Sawtelle by David Wroblewski is a beautifully written coming-of-age story intertwined with a love for dogs and their proper training. I would have rated it much higher if the ending wasn't so weak, muddled, and depressing.
[The Sawtelle Dogs] had measured their lived by proximity to that silent, inward creature [Edgar], that dark-haired, shy-eyed boy who smoothed his hands along their flanks and legs and withers and muzzles, a boy they'd watched since the moment of their birth, a boy who appeared each morning carrying water and food and, every afternoon, a brush. ... they knew they had no home.

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