Friday, January 16, 2009

Where's The Blue Pencil?

I did manage to put some mileage between front and back cover of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I am a little under half-way through; I'm not having much fun. There are so many good - no, glowing even - reviews out there about this novel by David Wroblewski (his first) that I'm thinking perhaps it's just must be me. I analogize my feelings about this book - at least up to now - this way: I'm traveling down an unpaved country road. Some of the road is smooth and easy, with pretty pastures and trees and flowers. Some of it is a little bumpy, but I can get by fairly well. However, the road often becomes swampy and I have to slog through it...maybe get out of the car and push. At that point, I don't care how good the scenery is, I just want to get to the end of the road. The premise of the story is inventive and quite unique, and when the writer sticks with it, the book flows fairly well. But, Wroblewski is always going off on some tangent about raising dogs, and training dogs, housing dogs and whelping dogs. He explains and explains to such a degree that at one point, I actually shouted out loud, "All right already, we get it!" For example, he did an entire chapter on Edgar's attempts to lure a stray dog into his confidence. I have a feeling Wroblewski may use the stray as a nexus for what happens to Edgar further on; but, he takes forever to "get to the point." For me, the overarching question is, what was the editor thinking? This book, over 550 pages long, could have been whittled down substantially. Nevertheless, I'm going to break my cardinal rule and continue to read to the end. I'd like to keep and open mind, and maybe I'm missing something. I'm just a little afraid, however, that I might fling it against the wall occasionally, thereby scaring the cat!


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I've read a couple reviews that agree with you completely. Slow-moving, overly drawn out. Enough to make me know that it's not a book for me. No matter how rewarding it might be in the end, I know I wouldn't be happy spending my precious reading time trudging through the mire.

  2. Debi: Amen to that. I said I'd finish it, but I've already started Sea of Poppies, so I might have trouble picking Edward Sawtell up again.