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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint: A Novel

by Brady Udall

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0624414,624 (3.89)27
Half Apache and mostly orphaned, Edgar Presley Mint's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. As he is shunted from the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family, comedy, pain, and trouble accompany Edgar through a string of larger-than-life experiences. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.… (more)
  1. 32
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (sanddancer)
  2. 11
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: A similar story for older teens/adults. Edgar is an American Indian orphan coming of age.
  3. 00
    China Boy by Gus Lee (howelson)
    howelson: Another coming of age story involving a struggle of mythic proportions.
  4. 00
    Dancing Naked by Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner (Unicycledad)
    Unicycledad: Both authors are Ex-Mormons, but both also write fantastic drama with great characters.
  5. 01
    Let the Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti (Ronnyreader)
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» See also 27 mentions

English (43)  French (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Synopsis/blurb....

Half-Apache and mostly orphaned, the adventures of Edgar Presley Mint begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven when the mailman's jeep accidently runs over his head. Shunted from the hospital to a reform school to a Mormon foster family, comedy and trouble accompany Edgar - the irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman eventually leads him to an unexpected home.
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My take....

A bit of literary fiction for a change and a book that I bought new when it came out 20 years ago. It's just taken me a while to get around to it. I had planned on reading it back in 2014 as part of a still unfiinshed reading challenge I signed up for. It was book 11 of 14, so I'm nearly there seven years after the event!

Elements of John Irving, as we follow the eventful life of young Edgar Mint from the moment a mailman runs over his head with a truck. A kind of absurd start, which is followed by more incidents of a similar ilk.

Hospitalisation, survival, recovery, fleeting connections, relocation, school, loneliness, rejection, abandonment, outsider status, bullying, more trauma, on the move again, family life experienced but in a far from normal environment, bereavement, depression, disruption, adoloscence, a continuation of a quest, finally a home and a sense of being wanted.

There's a lot of sadness and trauma in Edgar's life, which is met with bewilderment, but also acceptance and resilience. I shared his despair and disappointment, but instead of souring him on life, there's a stoicism about him. His over-riding obsession is to track down the mailman who fled, blood soaked from his accident to reassure him that he survived. When he eventually receives a location for the man, towards the end of the book, there is a surprising twist to the tale.

Humour blends with the sadness and the book does have more than a few comedy moments. It's a difficult read in places. You wonder how much misery one person can endure. I suppose it's a testament to the unfairness of life and the vagaries of fate.

A slow steady read during the month. I set myself a target of a certain number of pages to read a day and stuck to the goal, which I think enhanced my enjoyment as I wasn't rushing the read and instead savoured it.

Overall I really enjoyed it.

4 from 5

Letting Loose the Hounds, a short story collection by the author was read back in 2012, before I started blogging.

Read - February, 2021
Published - 2001
Page count - 432
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback

https://col2910.blogspot.com/2021/03/brady-udall-miracle-life-of-edgar-mint.html ( )
  col2910 | Mar 12, 2021 |
Did not like this book at all. The last chapter was well written, maybe cause I finally got thru it! ( )
  LoriKBoyd | Mar 24, 2020 |
One of those quirky-main-character tales, but this one was a bit too dark and depressing for me. ( )
  suedutton | Sep 24, 2019 |
"If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old, the mailman ran over my head." Did you laugh? If so, this book is for you (also, you are a friend of mine). I have loved this book since it came out in 2001, back when no one much wanted to read about bad things happening to children. Worth it for the love of a Hermes typewriter. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
It was pretty good, the story of a Native American boy who had been run over by a mail truck, and his experiences in boarding school, foster care, etc. Udall creates a unique voice for Edgar, which I liked. However, I felt the book could have been improved by editing. Edgar tends to give exhaustive details, which makes sense given his character, but it was a bit much for me at times. ( )
  banjo123 | Sep 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Contemporary fiction is full of cynical, world-weary protagonists. One of the strengths of this big, uneven novel -- it reads at times like a John Irving novel touched up by Roy Blount Jr. -- is the lovely and complex character of Edgar, an innocent whose struggle to survive is at odds with his fundamentally gentle nature.
 
This novel is a wonderful, wise debut, with a strong story told in language that teens will find easy to embrace.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Emily Lloyd (Nov 1, 2001)
 
Udall is too smart to lapse into sentimentality; he writes with such warmth and humor that Edgar's travails are endearing rather than horrifying.
added by Katya0133 | editEntertainment Weekly, Karen Valby (Aug 3, 2001)
 
One of the strengths of this big, uneven novel -- it reads, at times like a John Irving novel touched up by Roy Blount Jr. -- is the lovely and complex character of Edgar, an innocent whose struggle to survive is at odds with his fundamentally gentle nature.
added by Katya0133 | editThe New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Reese (Jul 1, 2001)
 
Udall persuades us to care for Edgar, to root for him to survive, and he is so successful that by the end of the story the only unbelievable thing is that Edgar Mint is nothing but a figment of Brady Udall's imagination.
added by Katya0133 | editNewsweek, Malcolm Jones (Jun 25, 2001)
 
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Als ik je maar één ding over mijn leven zou mogen vertellen, dan zo dat het volgende zijn: toen ik zeven jaar oud was is de postbode over mijn hoofd gereden.
If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head.
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"I saw him doing...ficky-fick."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Half Apache and mostly orphaned, Edgar Presley Mint's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. As he is shunted from the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family, comedy, pain, and trouble accompany Edgar through a string of larger-than-life experiences. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.

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Book description
In the beginning of this high-spirited and inexhaustibly inventive novel of the American West, a seven-year-old boy on an Apache Indian reservation has his head run over by a mail truck. Though his skull is crushed, Edgar miraculously survives the accident after being resuscitated by a possibly deranged hospital intern, Dr. Barry Pinkley. After three months in a coma, Edgar wakes up to find himself in St. Divine's Hospital in Globe, Arizona, surrounded by other survivors of horrific accidents. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is an immensley enjoyable story, with an unforgettable hero whos troubles and yearnings are completely captivating. While Edgar suffers many losses, including the loss of most of the illusions that make people's lives bearable, he maintains his innate goodness of his belief in the redeeming power of language. The result is a miracle of storytelling, bursting with heartache and hilarity and inhabited by characters as outsized as the landscape of the American West.
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