Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lisa's Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

WTF? I'm very tempted to let those three letters be my review, but it would just be unfair. So I'll try to be fair, however, this may end up being more rant than review, so bear with me.

First rule of reading, follow your instincts. I really should have followed mine. I was mildly intrigued by the premise when I saw the author interviewed on the today show. The critical acclaim and numerous positive reviews led me to buy this although I was not at all swayed by the summary. Hold on - let me move my hair so you can brand "sucka" on my forehead.

For starters, it is long - it could easily have been 150 pages shorter, without losing anything. No one needs a 3 page dissertation on playing canasta, particularly when it does nothing to enhance the plot, move it forward or explain motivations.

With the exception of Edgar and one or two others, the characters are one dimensional, unrelatable or in some instances, flat out useless. Knowing their motivations for their actions might have helped some.

There was at times a saving grace that came in the form of delightful prose. Other times, especially when discussing the elements of dog breeding, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. Tedious, convoluted, laborious, and sleep-inducing immediately spring to mind. Let's just chalk that up to me being wholly uninterested in dog breeding.

All of the elements of a coming of age story are evident and the overall plot was interesting at times. The execution, though left much to be desired. I don't blame the author that much, it's his first time, but his editors... It's been a bestseller, so obviously I am not the only one that got suckered in. And that is the source of my disappointment, I didn't follow my own mind and wasted 4 weeks of valuable reading time.

Its a good thing I can fight the urge to spoil the ending for those of you who are still interested.
Final Take 2/5


Anonymous ,  November 2, 2008 at 3:46 PM  

Thanks for your honest review. Sure glad I didn't get suckered into this one!

Julie November 2, 2008 at 8:06 PM  

Ouch! Sometimes the "Oprah" picks aren't all that they are cracked up to be. Thanks for the warning.

Mary (Bookfan) November 2, 2008 at 8:41 PM  

I've been burned too many times by Oprah's picks. No more. I didn't pick this one up - and now I'm glad I didn't after reading your review. Thank you.

Anonymous ,  November 2, 2008 at 9:08 PM  

I have been resisting the urge to read this one, too, because it just doesn't interest me - but I kept wondering if I was missing out on something great. Thanks for assuring me I'm not! I'll skip it and not waste my time.

Wendy November 3, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

Thank you for confirming my gut feeling on this one...I have been wondering if I should override my instincts and buy it because it has gotten so many wonderful reviews...and then I read YOUR review and decided my gut is probably right on this one. Thanks for saving me the $$!!!

Amanda November 4, 2008 at 12:45 PM  

O wow. I had a weird feeling about this one too and wasn't sure I was going to like it. Hmmm....I'll put it on the bottom of my TBR pile. Great review!

Bonnie November 4, 2008 at 10:59 PM  

I just finished this book and had similar feelings about it. I was disapointed overall.

You can read my review here:

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