Monday, August 15, 2011

Edgar Sawtelle and The Hunger Games

You know what can be a problem? When you read the first book in a series, really like it, and then you don't have the next book of the series in your possession. Drat. But before we get to that, let me introduce you to Edgar Sawtelle.

Before attending a book signing with a bunch of my peers, I'd heard the name Edgar Sawtelle, even seen the book on the shelf a few times, but I knew absolutely nothing about the book. Still, I stood in line and shared a wonderful conversation with the author (that's code for once again I had no idea what to say to a famous person, so I simpled grinned, uttered a thank you, and walked away with that silly grin still plastered to my face). From what I picked up while standing in line and listening to what David Wroblewski had to say, I gathered this was going to be a tragic tale. I cannot deny that it was tragic, but I'm nearly 100% satisfied with the way things turned out. The tragedy was beautiful in a way. I suppose you'll only understand what I mean once you've read it yourself as I don't want to give anything away.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is the story of...well...a boy named Edgar. Edgar lives on a farm in Wisconsin with his parents. They run a successful business of breeding dogs, training them, and placing them with families. When tragedy strikes their family, Edgar is forced to make a run for it. While traveling through the woods, Edgar must fight for his own survival as well as the survival of the three dogs that are with him.

As I began reading, knowing that I needed to brace myself for tragedy, I made a sad sort of moan and said, "This is going to be Where the Red Fern Grows all over again, isn't it?" (In case you're wondering, that's not a bad thing. I happen to be a big fan of Where the Red Fern Grows. It just meant I knew there was a possibility of rivers of tears staining my face as boy and dog become best of friends, of course something will happen to the dog, and perhaps there'll be a little ray of sunshine at the end to make the sadness seem a little less heartbreaking.) Well, I wasn't entirely right in my assumption. This book is a lot different.

I really enjoyed this book. I don't think I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars, but it was still good. I loved the feel of it--being out in the country, simpler way of life, that sort of thing. Plus having a boy with a strong connection with an animal always seems to be a strong connecting point. Something else I really loved about the story is the fact that Edgar is mute. Not only did it work really nicely with the story and add some interest, it pulled me in especially because of the opportunity I had to learn some ASL and spend some time in the deaf community. So I really enjoyed the setting and the characters.

If you're a fan of only happily ever after endings, this may not be the book for you. But if you don't mind a little tragedy mixed in with adventure and a few dogs for good measure, you should give the book a chance.

As for wishing I had the next book in a series, I finally decided I wanted to read The Hunger Games. I'm the kind of person who buys books faster than I can read them, so it's been sitting on my shelf for a while now. I knew the concept of this one, and for the most part, I'd heard positive feedback. I finished it today, and now I won't know how the series ends until I get my hands on the other two books of the series. Sigh. In case you couldn't tell, I was pleased with this book. I can't really call this a happy book either. It's full of violence and death, but it was a really good story. For those of you who don't know what it's about, it's a dystopian novel where every year two contestants are chosen from twelve districts to compete in the Hunger Games. The Games are one giant fight to the death, which is televised to all of Panem. 24 contestants. 1 winner. 1 survivor. Intense, no?

What book is next on the list? I don't know yet as I sat down to write this the moment I finished reading. Happy reading! More updates to follow!

Also, for those of you who don'e know, The Hunger Games is being turned into a movie. It comes out next year. Will you all join me in watching it on the silver screen :)

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