Book review: The story of Edgar Sawtelle

Heralded on Amazon as the best of June, creeping up the NYTimes bestseller list to number 6, this story of a boy and his dog by David Wroblewski was not what I expected.  After reading the author's comments about wanting something with "the uncynical Midwestern sense of heart," I am even more at sea.   

The book is a thriller, yes, as Publishers Weekly states, but somehow the momentum doesn't continue evenly to the end.  Like other readers, I reached that end and was mystified--not so much by the supernatural elements of the tale, but by the concluding events themselves. The presentiments and themes of the book didn’t seem to agree with the end. I agree with the Amazon reader who felt the end was rushed, tacked on, without continuity.  

The main characters and the dogs are well-drawn and engaging, but I bogged down in some of the jargon of dog handling, frequently wondering if specific training methods were fictional or real. And dogs are so funny--their sense of humor could have played a much bigger part!  

The book picks up when Edgar takes temporary residence with an endearing Eeyore-type of guy.  Now there were some moments of real, warm humor: good enough that I read a bit out loud to my husband.   

The time Edgar spends fleeing, in the woods, felt a lot like Harry Potter's time in the woods--anyone remember readers groaning about how that dragged on and on? As an upper Midwest resident, somehow the magic I find when I step out the door didn't happen for me here. 

Having recently finished some other books that are contemporary classics, I have to say this book did not compare well with those. 

Three out of five stars.  

And now I’m curious--what do you think?  Vote in the poll!