Written on: December 17th, 2008 in Learning Journeys
Laura here: This summer my friend needed to buy a book for a mutual
friend of ours as a birthday gift. I was in town and we were all getting
together to celebrate the last couple of birthdays for our group. The recipient
of this book was smart and had listed a specific title: The Story of Edgar
Sawtelle by David Wroblewski on her wish list. As a book lover I was surprised I hadn’t
heard of it, but sadly I hadn’t—odd title, unknown author.
My friend had made a purchase for me on her Macy’s card in
addition to buying me a lovely birthday gift so I explained I would purchase
the book so we’d be even. I assumed her silence was acceptance of my plan. Ha!
This dear friend is not a bookstore browser like me—I can browse for hours. We
found the book within five minutes and then spent fifteen minutes reading laugh
out loud birthday cards before selecting one and going to the checkout.
At the moment I was passing the book to the cashier
explaining I needed to pay for this my friend deftly lifted the book from my hand
and told the clerk something about me being her guest, this was her
town, and she needed to pay for the
book. I, less deftly, reached for the book— friends don’t grab—but my friend was quick! I had my hands on one end of the book she had a vise like grip on
most of the book and we were doing our darndest to wrestle the book away from
the other! For a more helpful visual here you go: I’m 5’9’’ and my dear, sweet
(strong) friend is 4’ 11”. In retrospect it IS funny isn’t it?
I came to my senses—I let go. It was a BOOK, we might damage
it; horror of horrors! The book lover in me won out over the responsible friend
part of me. And I find it interesting that my first experience with this particular
book was a ‘struggle’, because as much as I loved this book once I read it, I am
still struggling with it.
Since then I’ve purchased the book, selected the ideal time
to read the book in as few a days as possible—I knew I’d be swept away. I
discovered an exceptional storyteller in David Wroblewski and lifelong memorable
characters in Edgar, Almondine and the other Sawtelle dogs.
I loved this book. I didn’t want it to end. Yes, I’m a dog
person but I’ve never read an animal story as insightful and uniquely engaging
as this one. The chapters written from Almondine’s point of view (Edgar’s
canine soul mate) felt true and achingly real to me—as though we as readers
have stepped into an alien yet familiar mind.
If you’ve read the book maybe you’ll understand my struggle
with the end, and if not perhaps you’ll be intrigued enough to experience it
for yourself. This truly is a book to be experienced and mulled over, then
talked about, and talked about some more. I hope you’ll share your experience of Edgar’s story with
NOTE: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was chosen as an Oprah's
Book Club selection and you can read more here. There is an excellent Q&A
with David, but warning there are ‘spoilers’ here so if you haven’t read the
book browse with care.