Monday, November 12, 2012

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

Genre: science fiction & romance
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 288

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

I first heard about this book because of the movie that came out based on this book. Sometimes, the book isn't as great as the movie, but there are other times where the movie doesn't even capture the essence of the novel. Though the movie was excellent, I'd have to say this was better.
Charlie St. Cloud isn't a complex character. He's a genuinely sweet guy who loves his brother so much he's willing to give up the promising life he could have if he broke their promise. But he doesn't and he lives his life around the setting of the sun because that's what he promised so many years ago. He is fiercely loyal to not only his brother, but also to Tess, who suddenly comes barrelling into his life and ripping apart the careful facade he's kept for so many years. I really liked Tess. She was witty and strong, but she wasn't so strong that she didn't let her feelings show. I liked the moments when she was emotional because it gave her character depth.
Overall, if you've seen the movie and really liked it, I bet you'd like the book just as much. There are some parts that are different but it doesn't make the book greater than the movie or vice versa. They are their own entities and I can't say one is better than the other. It's the same heartbreaking story of the death and life of a beautiful, wonderful boy.
The Cover: I like how they put a sunset over Marblehead, and the ships coming in and out of the harbor. It sets the mood of the book nicely.

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