Book Reviews

“The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990”

by Vikas Mickunas

Edward-Writing jpg
translated from the original Hamster
by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia
(Blue Rider Press, 85 pages, $14.95)

Are you tired of the rat race? Do you sometimes feel like a hamster spinning about in some infernal wheel? You don’t know the half of it.

Several years ago Dr. M.E Rodentstein happened upon a garage sale. He noticed a tiny document which had been hidden away within a small cage. It was a diary, “The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990.” This rare journal has now been translated and is available to be perused by the general public.

Edward the Hamster’s life may have been short but he lived it to the full. He was a searcher and a seeker, a lover of life and a dreamer. He sought a better life but things just didn’t work out.

On Monday, May 5th he recorded this thought: “Why exist?” Two days later he discovered that his tormentors were truly evil. He describes what occurred that day: “Two of them came today, dragged me out of my cage and put me in some kind of improvised maze made out of books and old toilet-paper rolls. A labyrinth with no escape. They were treating it like a game, laughing and squealing as I desperately scrambled from blind alley to blind alley – but I knew it was no game. They’re trying to crush my will, to grind me down. They can take my freedom, but they will never take my soul. My name is Edward, and I am a hamster.”

Edward’s sojourn within this brutal gulag was brief. He rebelled by going on a hunger strike. Nobody noticed. Other hamsters joined him inside the cage. He wanted to kill his first cage mate. Then he falls in love. This joy was not meant to last: “I know that I am lucky to have spent only a few short hours with Camilla. She may be gone but she has left me the greatest gift any hamster can receive: Truth.”

The next time you are spinning around in your wheel, trapped in this cage, seemingly headed nowhere, take a moment to remember Edward the Hamster. You’ll probably recognize that you don’t have it so bad after all.

The translators of this unique bit of history are siblings. They once owned a hamster. It died. Then they realized that it was “the  only living being either of them has ever attempted to take care of.” Unfortunately they failed to comprehend the key issue here: you never actually own a hamster, it owns you.

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