Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 22, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski


I’ve always tried not to be a book snob about Oprah’s Book Club, but my antennae went up when I saw the sticker on this book, and indeed I wouldn’t have bought it at all except that (a) I needed something to read in the coffee shop last Saturday, (b) I wanted to spend some beat-the-financial-crisis money at Benn’s Bookshop, so conveniently across the road from my hairdresser and one of my favourite bookshops and (c) even the best bookshops stock dreadful stuff at Christmastime because that’s when people who don’t buy books, do – and amongst all the stocking-filler dross I couldn’t find anything else.  (Except the lovely books I’d already bought last time, now jostling for space on my TBR).

(Not that Mr Rudd sent me a recession-busting cheque, I hasten to add, and just as well, or I might have bought more rubbish than just this one book.)

Well, I should have listened to my instincts.  The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is even more tedious than Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs, and I should not have been surprised to find his name amongst the acknowledgements at the back of the book when I finally got there. 

I can’t express my thoughts about this over-hyped retelling of Hamlet (O Shakespeare, weep!) better than Janice Harayda has, over at One Minute Book Reviews.  It begins like this….

To read, or not to read
The Edgar Sawtelle book
That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler
In the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of
Outrageous twaddle,
And moralizing, too…..

The only good thing about reading this book is that it facilitated my discovery of Harayda’s Totally Unauthorised Reading Group Guides.


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