Monday, May 25, 2009
And then you get to the end...
For book club this month we read the Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It was one of those weekends, we have the stomach flu making it's rounds around our house, and for some reason, I keep getting insomnia in the middle of the night. I really didn't think that I would finish this book before heading to book club on Monday night. Well, nothing like being awake between midnight and 4am and when you have to go to work the next day...
For the most part, this was a lovely read. I enjoyed the story, there were some tragic elements to it, I loved the story about a boy and his dog, and then the trials of being born a mute. Don't read the rest if you have a desire to read this book....
Then it got a bit ugly, and the story was still interesting, but for me the threads started to fray a bit. Without completely giving everything away, Egdar's father dies, and months later, after his disenfranchised uncle moves in with his mother, and another tragedy happens, Edgar and three of his dogs go on the lamb. This was a really neat part of the book, how this 14 year old boy survived in the wilderness and the new friend that he makes. There are elements of the supernatural to this tale - Edgar is forewarned that if he leaves home, to never come back unless he can find a bottle - it looks like his uncle may have poisoned his father and will obviously have it in for him too - in the uncle's pursuit of the mom and the dogs.
Well, all this made for a fascinating read until the last 20 pages or so of the book. For me, the enjoyment I felt for this book was completely unravelled in one fell swoop. The beauty of the tale was undermined - I went from enjoying this book to being slightly disturbed by this book. There was no poetic justice in the end. A gruesome blinding, a murder, an almost suicide, and the mom is left shattered and unhinged. Half the dogs escape a barn fire to take off in to the wilds, and the other half stay. Perhaps the big part of this tale is that the original Sawtelle relative captured a "quality" in at least one of their dogs where the dog had an almost super-intelligence... needless to say, this was the dog that led the pack away from the burning barn and shattered family. But at what cost? The hero, dead. The archrival, dead. The mother, may as well be dead. The local cop - shattered. The Sawtelle history and legacy, done.
So, I finished this book in the wee hours of the night and thought, WTF? It was well written, but I wouldn't recommend it. I didn't feel there was any poetic justice, I felt that the beauty of the tale was undermined, and well, I will either trade this book in, or wash my hands of it. It really bothered me. I think I will unravel this story to a friend at work just to get it off my chest because I so enjoyed so much of the beginning and then the end - blech. It could have ended even slightly differently, and I would have been so much happier.
Much like how I hated how Bryce Courtney followed up the Power of One with Tandia - Peekay deserved so much better than what he got in Tandia... and hence as far as I am concerned, that book doesn't exist. Power of One is one of my favorite books, but not the follow up. I was so put off by this book although I like Courtney's writing, I still haven't cracked another one of his books.
Of course, all this is in my humble opinion, for better or for worse.
Had my maternity appointment today - 36 weeks! Am doing well, baby is moving in to position, and all is good. Last two weeks of work.. O M G !!!!
Brandon - not so much. He is in the grips of this stomach flu, and after being confirmed how contagious it is, decided it was best for us both to stay home today. Which was reinforced when we went down for a nap at 1 o'clock... and then woke up at 5!!!! It was awesome... but man, I feel like I am getting kicked. Too many weird sleep habits this weekend, and my system isn't at peak perfomance. Needless to say, after finishing this book and really needing to VENT about the experience, I didn't make it to book club after all. I was done. I was tired. Brandon was off, and well, it seemed like a better idea to just stay home. Which we did.