Summary and book reviews of The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

by Brady Udall

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall X
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2002, 432 pages

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Book Summary

A miracle of storytelling, bursting with heartache and hilarity and inhabited by characters as outsized as the landscape of the American West.

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. As formative events go, nothing else comes close.

With these words Edgar Mint, half-Apache and mostly orphaned, makes his unshakable claim on our attention. In the course of Brady Udall's high-spirited, inexhaustibly inventive novel, Edgar survives not just this bizarre accident, but a hellish boarding school for Native American orphans, a well-meaning but wildly dysfunctional Mormon foster-family, and the loss of most of the illusions that are supposed to make life bearable.

What persists is Edgar's innate goodness, his belief in the redeeming power of language, and his determination to find and forgive the man who almost killed him. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is a miracle of storytelling, bursting with heartache and hilarity and inhabited by characters as outsized as the landscape of the American West.

Chapter One
THE MAILMAN

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. As formative events go, nothing else comes close; my careening, zigzag existence, my wounded brain and faith in God, my collisions with joy and affliction, all of it has come, in one way or another, out of that moment on a summer morning when the left rear tire of a United States postal jeep ground my tiny head into the hot gravel of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

It was a typical July day, ten o'clock and already pushing a hundred, the whole world lit with a painful white light. Our house was particularly vulnerable to the heat because, unlike the other HUD houses on the road, it was covered with black tar paper—the siding had never been put on—and there were no shade trees, not even a bush to block the sun. There was an old lightning-struck cottonwood in the front yard, a charred skeleton of a tree...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The introduction and discussion questions that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion of Brady Udall's extraordinary first novel, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.. Also at BookBrowse, you'll find reviews, an extensive excerpt, an interview and a short biography.


ABOUT
At 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 ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Chicago
Vibrant, big-hearted . . . A poignant, picaresque odyssey.

Elle Magazine
[An] ingenious tale, which takes its heart from Dickens and its soul from America's great outlaw West.

Los Angeles Times
Marvelous . . . Edgar Mint is nobody's Everyman, but he is the hope and the pain of a child looking for, and eventually finding, a home.

The Oregonian
Be prepared to fall head over heels for Edgar Mint . . . a charming and delightful narrator you can't help but cheer on through the end.

The Wall Street Journal
Profound and stirring . . . brilliantly executed.

Newsweek
Extraordinary . . . Fall-down funny . . . It's like nothing else you've ever read.

Kirkus Reviews
A remarkably assured debut novel that brings to life a unique world, tells its story with skill, and remains enthralling throughout. A bit of a miracle in its own right.

School Library Journal - Emily Lloyd
Adult/High School-With Dickensian flair and mastery. This novel is a wonderful, wise debut, with a strong story told in language that teens will find easy to embrace.

Author Blurb Tony Earley
If Dickens had been born in Arizona, he might have written a book like this.

Author Blurb Junot Diaz
A story that tears at you and calls you back.

Reader Reviews

Lydia

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
I love the idea of Edgar living his life in reverse, going from severe almost unendurable hardship to come "home" and be a child, something he deserved in the first fifteen years of his life. A refreshing and poignant ending. I was rooting for Edgar ...   Read More

vincent

reading a novel is not my strong point. however, i was able to finish the entire book within 4 days. many thanks to its creator

Pamela J. Smith

I heard parts of Miricle Life read on Public Radio while at work in a prison in Iowa. I became obsessed with being in the right place at the right time to hear the daily half hour readings read by Dick Estell, although given the nature of my job it...   Read More

Kim

Entertaining read
As has been mentioned elsewhere, this author's style is similar to John Irving's -- lots of quirky characters, unusual circumstances, by turns very funny & deeply moving (More like the World According to Garp Irving than the Owen Meany Irving.) I ...   Read More

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