Edgar Sawtelle lives with his parents in Wisconsin on a farm that sells Sawtelle dogs. Between Edgar, his dad Gar, and his mom Trudy, they manage to train the pups until they are ready for placement with families. Each one of the is responsible for a different part of the process. Edgar is a mute who communicates through his own form of sign language. The only one who seems to really understand Edgar is his dog Almondine. She has been his friend since birth and is always by his side.
When Gar brings his brother Claude back to the farm after being released from jail, the dynamics change. Claude and Gar argue a lot and Edgar doesn't quite understand why. When Gar dies, it's up to Edgar to help keep the business alive and learn everything he can about his grandther's vision for the Sawtelle dogs. Claude starts moving in and taking Gar's place in the family which pushes Edgar to his limits. What results is a story of finding oneself in adversity and the journey required to get there.
This book is divided in to different sections and within each you get the perspective of different characters. I really enjoyed Almondine's perspective. She is such a wise and loyal dog and it was amazing how she understood that Edgar couldn't communicate as soon as he was brought home. These chapters seemed like some of the most important ones in the novel.
This novel was definitely a page-turner. Yet there were some passages that I didn't quite understand. At first I wasn't sure if it was because I was reading the book too quickly but I went back and re-read and still couldn't get a clear picture of things. Maybe the author left some of these items partially explained because he wanted the reader to use their imagination?
I really enjoyed this book even though I hated some of the characters and didn't feel too good about where the book was going. But that's part of what makes a book so good I guess!
First Line: "After dark the rain began to fall again, but he had already made up his mind to go and anyway it had been raining for weeks."