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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint: 05/08/09

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall was inspired by the his wife's ex-boyfriend having his head run over by a mail truck a child. Udall's childhood in a Mormon family in Arizona provide more points of reference for the novel. Despite all the brutality and poverty Edgar Mint faces in his life the novel has an odd sentimental tone to it similar to the recent film adaptation of B001U0HBPQ>The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The novel starts with the accident but gives no clear reason behind how it happened. Of course there's no way for Edgar to remember exactly why he ended up under the wheel of the truck. From there the book divides Edgar's life into four books: Saint Divines (where the miracle happens), Willie Sherman (the boarding school), Richland (where he is sponsored by a Mormon family) and Stony Run (where the miracle draws to a close).

My favorite parts of the novel are the first and final books. My least favorite is Willie Sherman for its length and brutality. I don't doubt the validity of his depiction of the church run school for Apaches. I've read enough nonfiction on the subject to know how bad things are. It like so many boarding school plots just felt too long and repetitive.

The copy I read was a British import and when Edgar leaves the boarding school the edits to make the language more British got in the way of the story. There were little details that just started piling up, like the substitution of Smarties for M&Ms, that poked too many holes in Edgar Mint's world for me.

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