Monday, January 28, 2013

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, by Brady Udall

When I picked up this book, I wasn't aware that it was by the author of The Lonely Polygamist, which has been on my list for awhile (although my husband tried to read it and couldn't get into it). Brady Udall comes from a political Mormon family, and many of his books have Mormon themes or characters.

This book has taken me, literally, weeks to get through.  I started it back in December before my surgery and put it aside for a bit while recovering because it is quite heavy. This was not an easy read--not only does it take some time to get into (Udall tends to have a meandering writing style) but also because it is so sad. It reminded me a lot of The Power of One, but I liked this one better.

Edgar Mint was born to an Apache mom and a white dad, both of whom abandoned him. When he was seven years old, the mailman ran over his head...he miraculously survived, but his life deteriorated from there. He traverses a series of temporary homes, from a long-term stay in a decrepit hospital and a horrible boarding school for Native Americans to a foster home of kind but dysfunctional Mormons. He has a few people who are looking out for him, but they are all totally screwed up. Edgar finds comfort in typing out his angst every evening on his classic typewriter.

One thing I found really bizarre and a bit offputting was Udall's style of alternating between first person and third person, often in the same paragraph and sometimes even in the same sentence. I guess it was to show how Edgar was trying to distance himself from his own life and experiences...I'm not sure.

Although I found this book to be sad and a bit slow, it is a classic reminder of how desperately children need nurturing, comfort, and wise guidance. I am happy to say that it has an ending of redemption.

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