Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Released: March 4th, 2004 (movie edition released July 27th, 2010)
Published by: Picador USA
Series: Stand Alone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Bought
Edition: Movie Cover, paperback
Page Amount: 277
Age Group: Adult


The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Luminous, soulful, and filled with unforgettable characters, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those rare, wise books that reveal the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the worst pain of loss into hope, healing, and even laughter. Suspenseful and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds us that sometimes tragedies can bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts.


I’m not going to lie, I only wanted to read this book because the movie came out a few years ago and I wanted to see it so bad. So I bought THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST. CLOUD, thinking that I would be reading it right away. It proceeded to sit on my shelf… collecting dust. Until this summer, at least. I decided that it was time to get a move onto reading this novel if I ever wanted to see the movie.

I think the main reason why I held off for so long before reading this book was because I expected it to be a big tear-jerker book, which honestly doesn’t make sense to me now because I love tear-jerkers (I’m such a weird reader, I know). I just expected it to be like the saddest book I’ve ever read, and I didn’t want to read it during school just in case I burst out into tears in the middle of class. Well, looking back on that now… I totally overreacted. Sure, this book did have it’s low, tear-jerker moments but it was not where even close to being the saddest book I’ve ever read.

The author wrote the entire book in third person, but kept switching characters he was talking about through the book. At most of the points during the book I loved it, but at some points it got confusing and they switched characters at inappropriate times, in my opinion.

Before I say this, let me just get a point through: I love Charlie and Tess. I thought that their relationship was unique and it’s an interesting situation they’re put into. But, I think they moved a bit too fast. For my liking, anyway. I felt like a real relationship in the real world that moved as fast as theirs did would not have the same emotional connection that was described in the book. I just thought that it would have been better if they’re relationship was slowed down a bit, and it wasn’t just like they randomly had all this chemistry and development, because that is definitely not what happens in the real world.

I think my favourite thing about this book was the relationship and the connection between Charlie and Sam. I mean, I have never read or heard of siblings that are that close to each other. Even my mother and her TWIN SISTER aren’t that close, and trust me they are close. It’s as though they are each others brothers, support systems and best friends all wrapped into one.

I really enjoyed this novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on the movie!

Cover Comments

I’m going to be commenting on the movie cover, because that is the one I have. This is one of the few movie adaptation covers that I prefer over the original cover. I’m a huge fan of Zac Efron (swoon) and I love how it has the photograph of Sam and Charlie looking out over the water.

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