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ggdiva
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎08-25-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself

Oh, get over yourself.  PA LEAZE!
New User
ggdiva
Posts: 4
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself

This was directed at the two sour pusses who were soooo disappointed at the ending.  Wake up to the the REAL world, where not everything is neatly tied with with a nice pretty bow.
Author
David_Wroblewski
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎07-28-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself

Hi Maria,

 

Okay, opinion registered, loud and clear! Of course, I don't entirely agree with you, or I wouldn't have written this book the way I did, but I'm sure as hell impressed with your passion. 

 

If you want to participate in a discussion of the ending, please come over to the Part V thread where I'll be hanging out until the end of the month. We've touched on a couple of the points you raised already, but we're hardly started.

 

Yours in trepidation,

David 

 

 

 


MariaLaS wrote:
I hate, hate, hate you David Wroblewski!  I knew from the reviews and overviews that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was a take on Hamlet.  However, I never thought you would end it the way you did.  Hamlet is killed off in Shakespeare's play because of his own tragic flaw of indecisiveness and cowardice.  Fortinbras arrives to bring hope to the State of Denmark.  Edgar is no such person.  Edgar shows bravery, independence and decisiveness in his actions.  He is on the verge of obtaining the proof to bring Claude to justice.  I cannot believe that you create an ending where Evil triumphs over good.  The dogs running off removes any chance of hope.  There is no Tragic Flaw in Edgar (I hope no one considers his muteness as such).  Edgar returns home to face his possible guilt in the death of the Vet and to find the evidence needed to turn in his uncle for the murder of his father. You are probably the first man I have ever wanted to slap in the face.  I read 2/3's of the book in one night, and I eagerly shared my feelings of the glorious story of this wonderful boy and his endearing dogs with many friends and family members.  The writing is excellent; it kept me wanting to read and read and read until I got to the end.  I will never loan/give this book to anyone I care about.  I would not want the horror of this travesty haunting anyone as it has haunted me for days.  I literally cried myself to sleep for three nights.  I will never,  ever read another book by this author.  His sense of tragedy is actually a travesty to the classical elements of tragic drama.

 

 


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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself


ggdiva wrote:
This was directed at the two sour pusses who were soooo disappointed at the ending.  Wake up to the the REAL world, where not everything is neatly tied with with a nice pretty bow.

 

Being human is to thini everyone should think like you. That is why as a free country we do not like one person dominating our life so we are free to agree or disagree. Another human aspect is, we are all different and will always think different.And name calling and hard feelings do not play good on these clubs.
Reader
TriciaM
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-26-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

I am jumping in for the first time on this book club.

 

I read Edgar Sawtelle 2 weeks ago and it has taken some time to come to terms with the book - and I am not sure I have yet.  My description to others that I have recommended the book to is that it is haunting and tragic.  I, too, did not feel comfortable about Edgar's tragic death at the end of the book.  However, it was just that TRAGIC and despite the fact that I loved Edgar as the character that he was in the book and hence did not like his meeting with death in the end - it was what the book was --- a tragedy.  I did not want to say that I did not like the book because I did - very much so.  But bad things do happen to good people all of the time and so it did in this book.

 

The ending fif not seem to me to be a set up to a sequel - although you may think otherwise, David.  To me it was just an ending to a deeply tragic tale.

 

Perhaps, the reasons that I felt uncomfortable with the ending and had to wait and think about it to come to terms with the tragic ending was that I feel surround with tragedy all of the time in the news and maybe I read to escape tragedy more than I thought.

 

I will say that on retrospect, this is probably the best written books that I have read in a long time and the fact that the ending was so deeply felt speaks to the power of the book.

 

Bravo, David.

 

My book group will definitely be discussiong this in the future as one of our monthly selections and I am looking forward to hearing you speak in Cleveland this fall.

Author
David_Wroblewski
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎07-28-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself

Hi ggdiva, thanks for your introduction. I loved the image of you reading on the porch swing. Of course I was glad Edgar's story resonated for you so much. And by the way, three days to read 500+ pages would be a record for me, too.

 

Welcome to the discussion!

 

-David 

 

ps. I live on the front range in Colorado, in the Denver/Boulder are -- been in the area since around 1990.

 

 

 

 

 


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David_Wroblewski
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

[ Edited ]

Hi Tricia, very interesting post, thanks for chiming in. One thing that's struck me, as I've gotten reader feedback over the course of the summer, is just how differently people take stock of the story after they've finished. Some readers have an instant, irrevocable reaction. Others -- like you -- ponder for a time. And quite few people have told me that they felt one way the moment they finished the book, and differently a few days later. I'm not saying one way is better than another, just that it's fascinating to me what distinct styles people have about this.

 

I thought what you said about being surrounded by tragedy, and perhaps needing to escape it more than you thought, rang absolutely true. Some of the posts in this thread have reminded me of a famous passage from Kafka's letters, in which he says: "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." Kafka has a way of pushing things to the extreme, as we all know, so maybe that's overstated, but it's hard to disagree in principle. You just want to be able chose when to take on something with those sorts of effects.

 

In any case, thanks for your thoughtful take on things.

 

-David

 

 


TriciaM wrote:

I am jumping in for the first time on this book club.

 

I read Edgar Sawtelle 2 weeks ago and it has taken some time to come to terms with the book - and I am not sure I have yet.  My description to others that I have recommended the book to is that it is haunting and tragic.  I, too, did not feel comfortable about Edgar's tragic death at the end of the book.  However, it was just that TRAGIC and despite the fact that I loved Edgar as the character that he was in the book and hence did not like his meeting with death in the end - it was what the book was --- a tragedy.  I did not want to say that I did not like the book because I did - very much so.  But bad things do happen to good people all of the time and so it did in this book.

 

The ending fif not seem to me to be a set up to a sequel - although you may think otherwise, David.  To me it was just an ending to a deeply tragic tale.

 

Perhaps, the reasons that I felt uncomfortable with the ending and had to wait and think about it to come to terms with the tragic ending was that I feel surround with tragedy all of the time in the news and maybe I read to escape tragedy more than I thought.

 

I will say that on retrospect, this is probably the best written books that I have read in a long time and the fact that the ending was so deeply felt speaks to the power of the book.

 

Bravo, David.

 

My book group will definitely be discussiong this in the future as one of our monthly selections and I am looking forward to hearing you speak in Cleveland this fall.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by David_Wroblewski on 08-26-2008 06:15 PM


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abbyg7
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

I read this book several months ago and just loved it.  I still can't stop thinking about it and this is the only book I can think of that I have read in a long time that I feel this way about.

 

Just because not everyone liked the ending of the book is no reason to argue and say some of the things that have been said.  It's Mr. Wroblewski's story and he ended it the way he felt it should be ended.  As someone else said, life isn't always perfect, there are many tragedies everyday.  I too felt the ending was heartbreaking.  But like 4beanie, I felt somewhat happier with the "unconditional love" and the "homecoming".  The unconditional love of a dog for his boy and a father for his son was shown, I felt, when Edgar was reunited with Almondine and Gar as they helped lead him to whatever place he went next.  Depending on your religious beliefs that could be his "homecoming" to heaven or whatever plane of existence you feel happens when a person dies.

 

I also agree with EmmaBergman that Essay was the ultimate Sawtelle dog.  Whatever decision she made was certainly the right one for her and the other special dogs that stayed with her.  Personally, I hope she made the decision to go back to Henry, Baboo and Tinder so that she could teach Henry how to continue raising Sawtelle dogs.  Though Essay was special enough that she could probably continue the line through Forte and bring the whole breed full circle again.  In a way starting all over from this new point in time and possibly finding a new Gar, Trudy and Edgar to help her start a whole new generation.

 

Please Mr. Wroblewski, don't wait ten more years to give us another wonderful novel.

 

 

 

Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison


abbyg7 wrote:

I read this book several months ago and just loved it.  I still can't stop thinking about it and this is the only book I can think of that I have read in a long time that I feel this way about.

 

Just because not everyone liked the ending of the book is no reason to argue and say some of the things that have been said.  It's Mr. Wroblewski's story and he ended it the way he felt it should be ended.  As someone else said, life isn't always perfect, there are many tragedies everyday.  I too felt the ending was heartbreaking.  But like 4beanie, I felt somewhat happier with the "unconditional love" and the "homecoming".  The unconditional love of a dog for his boy and a father for his son was shown, I felt, when Edgar was reunited with Almondine and Gar as they helped lead him to whatever place he went next.  Depending on your religious beliefs that could be his "homecoming" to heaven or whatever plane of existence you feel happens when a person dies.

 

I also agree with EmmaBergman that Essay was the ultimate Sawtelle dog.  Whatever decision she made was certainly the right one for her and the other special dogs that stayed with her.  Personally, I hope she made the decision to go back to Henry, Baboo and Tinder so that she could teach Henry how to continue raising Sawtelle dogs.  Though Essay was special enough that she could probably continue the line through Forte and bring the whole breed full circle again.  In a way starting all over from this new point in time and possibly finding a new Gar, Trudy and Edgar to help her start a whole new generation.

 

Please Mr. Wroblewski, don't wait ten more years to give us another wonderful novel.

 

 

 


 

Abbyg7,

 

I also really liked what Emma had to say about Essay. I loved the idea of the dogs going up to Henry, too,  and even thought about the size of the barn behind his house, in terms of it's possibilities for breeding and housing for the dogs! But I think my own gut would point toward the dogs staying somewhat wild. Essay seems just a bit beyond "training."  I can imagine Henry living among them while they prowl and doze in the sunflowers!

Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

Because the novel stirs up such strong feelings in many readers, I am trying to leave some of our more heated posts up to keep us engaged in the discussion. But I also want to make very clear that irrelevant, harassing, and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Respectful disagreement can make great discussion, but please make sure before you post that your message is relevant to the book, is not overly personal for a public forum, and is respectful of the author and the rest of the community here.

 

Please see the "Courtesy Counts" thread again. Thanks!

 

Rachel

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peachy-girl
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Registered: ‎08-27-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Introduce Yourself

[ Edited ]
Well I just finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle... I read it in 3 days for my book club and after finishing it was desperate to somehow contact the author to tell him how much I liked the book... until the end that is and I have to say the horrid ending overshadowed all the rest of the book. I am sad and depressed. I know every story does not have a happy ending but for Pete's sake I REALLY thought Claude was going to die in some amazing horrible fashion so the readers would know justice was served. What happened to Trudy? To Glen? I was left hanging and to have Edgar die like that... it was all just so upsettingI did enjoy all the book up until the end. I hope this reaches the author. Tomorrow nite when I go to my book club I am not going to have good things to say.
Message Edited by rkubie on 08-27-2008 12:54 AM
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brontyman
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Registered: ‎07-02-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

[ Edited ]

Mr. Wroblewski,

You should be thanked for being generous with your time and comments, it is a great gift you give to your readers by being here. One of my posts was removed for being "rude and hurtful" to you, and that was not my meaning or intent. However, when I was offered the opportunity to revise that post I declined because I felt it was a valid criticism in direct response to your question of why the book failed some. If I offended you or anyone else who saw that post I apologize.  Let me try again to make a point in answer to your question.

You are a skilled writer, a craftsman with words, but for some of us, the words no matter how beautiful are devoid of "meaning." I have heard it said, that the author writes, the reader experiences, and that any meaning derived from the reading is from the reader. The work stands alone, it is, what it is.

For myself, I  seek the "magic" that occurs from the printed word that makes me give up my god like view of the story. The characters come alive with their own dramatic truth and the story through self recognition, and shared insights, gives me "meaning". It takes on a vibrant life of it's own. It may be joy, or the author may lead you to desolation, but it is in that journey that we the reader find meaning. It is a natural and universal desire for meaning, not happy endings, that motivates many readers. 

When the author drives the story ahead solely on crafting  scene and characters, somehow the magic disappears. The characters seem hollow, the motivations murky and not understood. The ending of the story, loses the dramatic truth, and to the reader is bitterly unsatisfying. I propose that this loss of the dramatic truth of the story is why you found the Roth work "meaningless."

You have crafted a literary tour de force, but for some of us, if the work does not create that magic between the words and the reader, it brings us to the ruin your characters experience. It is ultimately unsatisfying, and this is why for some, your work fails.

Respectfully,

 

Message Edited by brontyman on 08-27-2008 07:06 AM
Message Edited by brontyman on 08-27-2008 07:11 AM
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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watermelontank
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Registered: ‎08-27-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Welcome from the Author

Mr Wroblewski,

 

I am delighted to find this thread, as I live in a rural area and have no one to discuss my favourite reads with.  I flat out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  There were so many rich images and the story was so gripping, that I started reading the story again before even coming to the end of the book.  I was surprised by the ending, but felt it was exactly right to the story after considering myself again.  You led us to it in those initial chapters when Edgars mother loses her first baby in stillbirth, and then loses the pup that Gar rescues as well.  As Edgar says, you feel the pup is a gift for her loss, that it would sum things up nicely if she should receive this one life for the other, so when the pup dies, really there is no compensation for her loss.......but really, where is the justice so many times in this life?

 

If I may ask, did you create Edgars lack of vocal capability to mirror human interaction with dogs?  I thought this was fascinating......he evidently couldn't cough as well, which would be a danger if he came down with pneumonia? 

 

I have always been fascinated by dog stories about dogs with amazing loyalty or capabilities.  I assume the stories you referenced in your book were true ones.  I loved that Edgars grandfather was trying to capture some of that in his breeding of the Sawtelle dogs.  I think you must have trained or been around some dog training to write so convincingly about the training of the Sawtelle dogs.  To have a dog lean into you and look you in the eyes, or just desire some work to do, is something someone who has never been around dogs just couldn't describe. 

 

As I am reading through the book for the second time, I am picking up a lot I missed the first go-through, because I was absolutely racing through it to find out where it would end up.  Thanks for this absolutely great story!

 

Author
David_Wroblewski
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎07-28-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

Hi Michael,

 

Thanks for your post. I'm certainly not here to try to convince you or anyone to react differently to this book than they do, because in fact I AM one of those people who believe the work must stand alone. The truth is, it is very difficult for me to participate in this forum (or any discussion of the book) precisely because chiming in breaks a certain set of habits that have been ingrained in me, both as a writer and as a maker of software. The thing is made, it's done. Everyone's experience of it is what it is. All a writer can do is watch and listen and try to understand how the story has worked for people. Every artist feels a mixture or pride and regret when they let their work go. Fitzgerald, though he was engrossed and enthusiastic while writing it, considered Gatsby deeply flawed for most of the remainder of his life. And no writer expects that everyone will react to his or her story the same way. We know it doesn't work that way, by simple observation: there are books I revere that others either don't like or are indifferent to, and I'm amazed (and indignant!) that anyone would feel other than I do. So what's left for the writer is to hope that, by paying attention, even if it is uncomfortable, they'll grow as an artist and as a human being.

As I said in my introduction, I don't believe much in absolutes, literary or otherwise, but there is one principle I do feel very strongly about: a writer must be utterly, unreservedly true to their vision of the story they have to tell, and use all their skill and craft in executing that vision. If the vision involves difficult or unsettling outcomes, ones that they know will make some readers unhappy, too bad for the writer, that's part of the bargain. If the story exceeds their skill, also too bad. To write in any other way is selling out, an error of soul and integrity. The only exception I'd take with your post is that you seem to presume I was "driving the story ahead solely on crafting scene and character". Having been there when it happened, I can assure you that was not the case. On the contrary, this was, for me, a deeply heartfelt and often difficult project, nowhere moreso than with Part V. I suspect Edgar is far more real for me than for any reader, and if you look at the final chapters of the book, I think you will see some of my own feelings about what happens. Something profound has been lost with Edgar; the world has been turned upside down, irrevocably. But there is also a restoration of a certain kind of balance with its own value, a balance that is larger than Edgar or the Sawtelles, and I don't feel that could have come about any other way. I see the ending as hard, but hopeful, in the largest sense of the word. But, again, that's MY take on things and I'm not here to change your mind. I understand that it came across otherwise for you, and unquestionably, it failed you. Regardless, I want to thank you for reading Edgar's story and posting your reaction.

What I meant to say about American Pastoral was that I don't suppose Philip Roth himself felt that his story, or its ending, was hopeless or meaningless. In fact, just the opposite. I take it as MY limitation that I could not see how the ending was either appropriate, gracefully proportional, or as invested in the humanity of the characters as the rest of the story. It did feel dischordant to me. But even as I've been writing these posts, and thinking about the story of AP, I can't imagine of a different ending that would have been "better", because then it would not have been Roth's novel. What remains disturbing to me is the idea that I can't adjust my perspective enough to see how AP's ending becomes harmonious (or even if it was intended to be so, because maybe I'm demanding harmony when the point was just the opposite.) But that certainly is the challenge AP poses for me. It simply refuses to settle into an easy, final equilibrium. And the fact that it stays with me, and that I'm talking about it now, years after I finished it, has to be some measure of its success.

 

-David 

 


brontyman wrote:

Mr. Wroblewski,

You should be thanked for being generous with your time and comments, ....<snip>....

You are a skilled writer, a craftsman with words, but for some of us, the words no matter how beautiful are devoid of "meaning." I have heard it said, that the author writes, the reader experiences, and that any meaning derived from the reading is from the reader. The work stands alone, it is, what it is.

For myself, I  seek the "magic" that occurs from the printed word that makes me give up my god like view of the story. The characters come alive with their own dramatic truth and the story through self recognition, and shared insights, gives me "meaning". It takes on a vibrant life of it's own. It may be joy, or the author may lead you to desolation, but it is in that journey that we the reader find meaning. It is a natural and universal desire for meaning, not happy endings, that motivates many readers. 

When the author drives the story ahead solely on crafting  scene and characters, somehow the magic disappears. The characters seem hollow, the motivations murky and not understood. The ending of the story, loses the dramatic truth, and to the reader is bitterly unsatisfying. I propose that this loss of the dramatic truth of the story is why you found the Roth work "meaningless."

You have crafted a literary tour de force, but for some of us, if the work does not create that magic between the words and the reader, it brings us to the ruin your characters experience. It is ultimately unsatisfying, and this is why for some, your work fails....


 

 


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vivico1
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

David,

I see that you are on right now and posting. I saw you on the Today Show this morning and its a shame we did not know about it. I am sure your fans would loved to have seen the interview. Watching it, I think I finally figured out why the ending bothered me so much or what I was missing. I do not mean to offend, I get a bit zealous in my opinions, or in writing it seems, but I do not expect everyone to agree with me either. If everyone did, it would be a dull world indeed. Anyway, I have shared with Rachel the moderated what I wanted to tell you about what I figured out and if she says its ok to post it here, I would really like to. But I do not want to post it and have it pulled. So I am waiting for her to read it and just wanted to tell you that I think I know now why the extreme reaction and maybe from others and it hit me after your interview. I hope I can share it with you. And as I was going to say in it, you look much younger in person than on this picture at the top!

 

Anyway, I hope I can post it and before the end of the week so you can read it. It is written with no offense meant at all, just think I understand something now. Vivian

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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brontyman
Posts: 194
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

Mr.. Wroblewski,

Thank you for the reply. I now understand where your perspective lies. I respect  your integrity to your vision of the story. I also respect that your character of Edgar is a deep personal experience, if I implied anything else I apologize.

The artist is ultimately responsible for the work, just has the reader is responsible for the meaning the work engenders. Sometimes there is a shared perspective, an insight , a clarity. I recognize that this may not be the "purpose" of the story, but still it exists, otherwise the reading is a futile exercise. I do not expect endings to please me, and my dramatic truth is not the same as another reader. In the future I will keep in mind the author's vison of the story, and if by chance we share a insight, I will savor that moment.

Your comments are appreciated.

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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SouthernFlame
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Registered: ‎08-04-2008
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

David,

 

Although I haven't kept up with the blog this month, I feel I must make a final comment. To me The Story of Edgar Sawtelle could not have ended otherwise. I always felt the soul of the story was the relationship of Edgar and Almondine. Once she died, I knew it was inevitable that Edgar must follow. I will always remember the pain I felt at Almondine's death because I had felt such anger with Edgar's treatment of her. I also thank you for sparing the reader an actual death scene with her because her last chapter was such an excellent preparation (just like life). As far as Edgar's death, I found it really comforting that she was there, his soul mate, to take him.

 

My final thought regards the last behavior of the dogs. Just as Edgar's grandfather and father trusted that the dogs would make the right decision, for me, the next journey of the Sawtelle dogs (lead by Essay) brought the story full circle. The Darwin quote, particularly "from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved" the Sawtelle dogs were following their natural path.

 

I was only left hanging with the fate of Trudy, yet considering her upbringing, she knew how to be alone even though I prefer to believe that she would die of a broken heart.

 

My last thought as I closed the book was that the next section could only be called "Forte's Children".

 

Thank you again for this beautiful piece of literature. I anxiously await your future gifts.

 

Diane

 

 

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vivico1
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Part V: Poison

David,

Rachel read my post and didn't say no, so I want to write this to u tonight, in case you read these in the morning. I am not sure you will be here past tomorrow so first let me say, this might not be my type of book but I really do appreciate you coming and visiting with us, for the good and the bad of it huh? lol It was very nice of you to share your time with us. So before you go, thank you very much for being here, I do mean that.

 

You were wondering why such strong feelings about the book and did say you had had these reactions before and would like to understand. This is what I wanted to share with you that I think I have figured out. I know I have from my point of view. It really has to do with whether you see it as Edgar's story or the dog's story and this is how I came about it.

 

 

I saw you on the Today Show this morning. You have said in the club this is an adult "boy and his dog" story but you said something this morning on the show, just phrased it a hair different that when I thought about it, now I know what was bothering me and maybe can say it better and it may be why some others feel upset too. I can't speak for them but it goes to what I am hearing and what I felt. On the show you said, or the interviewer said, its basically a "love story between a mute boy Edgar and his dog Almondine". I thought about that for a minute and I thought, now I know why the ending bothers me! I don't really read it is a love story between a boy and his dog. I think Edgar loved Almondine very much and I think Almondine loved him too, maybe even more. I loved those parts of the book but looking back on it, a very big part of the book and a very big part of what Edgar goes through does not even involve Almondine being with him. I think this is the difference for some of us and it all jelled for me this morning when you said, a love story between Edgar and Almondine. She doesn't take this long journey with him of discovery, she dies before he can even come back. I understand what you said about why Almondine couldn't go with Edgar but when she doesn't, some of us lost track of their story, their relationship because it didn't get to grow through Edgar's hard times. So as I see it, it's a story about Edgar, with the dogs as a backdrop, so thats why when Edgar dies the way he does, the story falls apart to me. I know dogs get old and die and may not be with you on your life journey. In another story I read where the dog is old and dies, the story tho, "the boy and his dog story" has them together throughout all the trials and you feel a friendship that is beyond human and dog, its about the love you mentioned this morning. It's about their relationship through it all that makes you see how special that is. It held true to the message of the story of their friendship. I think that's what doesn't work for me in a nutshell now that I heard you say that.

 

To me, this was Edgar's story and so his ending made no sense and for me, it still doesn't because it is how I percieve the story, as his, not about his relationship with Almondine much at all. I felt their bond when they were together and the parts where it's through her viewpoint held true to me as a love story between them. But those parts, in comparison both in number of pages but also within the storyline itself seem few and far between and gets lost, to me. That was it! That was what upset me. I read it as Edgar's story and how he cared about these dogs and Almondine was a special one to him but it was his story and their relationship got lost in the shuffle. Does that make better sense as to what I was trying to explain bothered me? I couldn't even put my finger on it exactly until I heard your words this morning, slightly differently than a boy and his dog, but instead, a love story between a boy and his dog, Edgar and Almondine. That's where I felt the disconnect with the story. I think too, when you read the people who are the most upset by the ending, they are mad that Edgar went on this huge journey, both internally and externally and for all the wonder of the Sawtelle dogs, this was for us, his story and he was killed. . Could that be the problem in why the opinions vary so harshly? That some of us saw it as Edgar's story and some read it as the story of the dogs, so the ending for one group didn't stay true to the storyline we were following and to the other group since it was about the dogs to them, Edgar's death didn't hit them the same way because the dogs carry on? I think that may be it. I know it was for me. The love story of Edgar and Almondine seemed to get lost into what was more Edgar's story. I think because as I had said once, that I saw him more like Almondine than Trudy, that she was more his mother than Trudy was and when their story lines disconnected for me, then the ending didn't make sense to me. Maybe I thought earlier on in the book, that if a showdown happened between Edgar and Clyde, Almondine would be there and she would die saving him because of that love you mentioned and then Edgar would carry on with the new generation, Essay.

 

Maybe the very drastic differences we have seen even in here is basically that, whose story you see it as will determine how you feel about the whole book and the ending? I really did love the story between Edgar and Almondine and you crafted that part so well, from her mothering him, to her voice talking about him even but once he had to leave, the relationship got lost as this other story, Essay and the other dogs developed and so I did lose the love story and all the meaning. I still am not a fan of it, because it did seem to me to take two different directions and that's why the ending confused me but I understand now why it did confuse me and I hope this makes sense to you. And yeah, not every one is a fan of every book, that's life right? I have just found the two extremes in people's reactions so facinating, there wasnt a lot of middle ground.

 

I am hoping maybe this will help explain what I was trying to figure out myself really and how to explain it. I think in Brontyman's post too, there is a sense of that. What do you think? I know there is redundancy in this message, but some of the things I wrote, as I previewed the post wound up in a different place and when I tried to correct it, I think thoughts got doubled instead of edited out or moved correctly so please forgive me for some things being said over again within this post.

 

Well, I hope this made sense, it is what I figured out bothered me and is not meant to offend. I merely wanted to clarify. Again, thank you very much for your time with us and have a great holiday weekend.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Almondine and Ophelia

I know we seemed to pretty quickly move away from talking about Edgar as a story that has all the ghosts of Hamlet moving around in it, but one aspect of both stories that was most difficult for me emotionally was the rejection of Ophelia and of Almondine!

 

And I like seeing one story through another, one poem through another: I feel we read that way anyway, so examining the stories together doesn't do either an injustice!

 

In Hamlet, it made me crazy (too), because you could watch Ophelia breaking under the strain of it, and Hamlet, while he was raging around, couldn't even register what he was doing to this person he loved dearly. I saw this coming with Almondine, and could actually feel tension in my shoulders while I was reading their scenes! Edgar's rage at watching Almondine give attention to Claude? It was awful!

 

I also hoped that I could read Almondine's death and Edgar's return to find her grave another way! I wanted to put the book down and pick it back up and have those pages say something else!

 

 

MJR
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MJR
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Registered: ‎08-21-2009
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Re: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Welcome from the Author

I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. The book got great reviews so I bought it in hard cover. Like others, I feel cheated by the ending. If I'd wanted to read Hamlet, I would have read Hamlet. I never bothered to compare the two.

 

It's bad enough to have a disappointing ending but one that leaves me hanging with no explanation (where and what is Essay crossing?) is an author I stop reading. I'm no longer in high school where I had to discuss what I thought the author meant when he said....

 

I resent having spent the cost of the hard cover and my time reading it. For an author to ask me to believe in and care about his characters, their environment, and their physical and emotional well being, only to pull the rug out from under me at the absolute, very end of the story is inexcusable. In my 50 some years, I've only read one other book that left me feeling the same way (Jodi Picoult's, My Sister's Keeper. Her explanation for why she "had" to end the story the way she did is feeble.) I no longer read her books, nor will I read David Wroblewski's.

 

I read books for many reasons. Non of which is for feeling frustrated, angry, annoyed, and taken advantage of.