Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Edgar Mint


I generally don't read books that are recommended by serious reviewers.  This includes Oprah Winfrey.  They are usually so depressing and awful.  I don't care how well a book is written, if it makes me want weep all day or shoot someone, I'll pass.  This is why I read a lot of mysteries.  I may hate the bad guy, but I know he'll get his in the end!

The Roanoke Times had a review of  The Miracle Life Of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall.  I liked the premise.  It starts with a small Apache boy who crawls under the mail truck in front of his home on the reservation.  The mailman is devastated when he runs over his head and tries to stop the blood pouring from this small boy by using his shirt and then his pants.  He is pronounced dead and carried off to the local hospital where he is revived and expected to live the rest of his life in a coma.

Miraculously he comes out of the coma to become a pet of the rehabilitation section of the small hospital.  His alcoholic mother has moved away and can't be reached.  One of the men who share his room, becomes close to Edgar .  Edgar learns to read but the brain damage from the accident prevents him from forming letters, so his roomie arranges for him to have a typewriter.  This typewriter goes with Edgar throughout the rest of the story and proves his salvation. 

After sometime he is sent to a school for various tribes of delinquent Indians.  Here is is tortured and abused with no help from any of the adults that are supposed to teach and nurture him.   At this point in the book, I almost closed it up and sent it back to the library unfinished.  Something I can rarely force myself to do, no matter how bad a book is.

But this isn't a bad book.  Is is well written and engrossing.  It is just difficult to read because this poor boy is tortured over and over.  He finally is sent to live with a Mormon family where he the happiest of his life.  Their personal problems spill over onto Edgar and he is sent adrift in the world once again.  His whole life he has been upset at the idea that the mailman thought he had killed a boy, so he sets out on a journey to find him and relieve his mind.

I started to worry that this book would end with a flame out where I would wonder why I was torturing myself this way.  I did not want to become so engrossed in Edgar's well being and then have the whole rest of his life be one miserable mess.  The book takes a turn that I won't tell you about or it will spoil the end, but it was unexpected.  I will tell you that  I liked that it didn't turn sappy and sentimental, but was satisfying and wrapped up the whole story.

So I would recommend this book if you like the Oprah book club, but not if you want to smile and laugh your way through a book.  I fall somewhere in the middle.


  1. After reading your review, I'll skip this read. Just checked out a couple of mysteries today by a writer I haven't read before, Charles Finch.