Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall was originally published in 2001. My hardcover copy has 423 pages. Edgar faces several insurmountable challenges in his early life and manages to survive. This is a dark story but is also funny and strangely enough, full of hope. Edgar is born on a reservation but after an accident he spends time convalescing at St. Divine hospital. It is here that the former doctor, Barry Pinkley, becomes a constant, somewhat sinister presence and where Edgar is given his typewriter as a gift and he makes a deodorizing urinal puke a good luck charm. Both are also sources of comfort. Next he is sent to live with an uncle and attend a school for delinquent Native Americans, Willie Sherman, where his life is full of abuse at the hands of other students. After a conversion to Mormonism, he moves to Richland, Utah, to live with a foster family. Finally, he moves to Stony Run, Pennsylvania. Rating: 4.5

Synopsis from cover:
With the inventive acuity of John Irving, this riveting picaresque novel chronicles the hopes and heartbreaks of Edgar Presley Mint. The trials of Edgar, half Apache and mostly orphaned, began on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. 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.

"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." opening sentence

"Everyone agreed that my survival was either an absolute miracle or a real happenstance, however you want to look at it, but there was also general agreement that simple survival was as far as the miracle would go: there was not chance on earth I was going to be anything but the mental and physical equivalent of a turnip." pg. 25

"If my life could be contained in a word it would be this one: accidents." pg. 29

"For me there is no such thing as forgetting, nothing is hazy or vague. I can remember it all: every name, every glance, every word, every throwaway scrap of a moment." pg. 38

"There's no such thing as feelings when you're a doctor. Everything is quantifiable, no such thing as mystery." pg. 77

"It was with the intuition of a child that I knew the arrival of Barry spelled the end of my short-lived happiness at St. Divine's. pg. 78

"My first day of school at Willie Sherman and I was about to realize that I was no longer Saint Edgar the miracle-boy, hospital sweetheart, beloved by all, but a walking target, a chicken among the foxes." pg. 99

"I typed because typing, for me, was as good as having a conversation. I typed because I had to. I typed because I was afraid I might disappear." pg. 139

"I was twelve years old and was going to become a member of God's own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had accepted God and He had accepted me." pg. 233

"Alan was the king of kid who was popular and well liked and managed not to have any real friends - he was just too righteous." pg. 337

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