Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #29: LibraryLove May 30, 2010

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

Book description~ This book 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.

Soulful and transformative.  Suspenseful yet subtle. Engaging and realistic. Set in New England, these are just a few words that describe Ben Sherwood’s thought-provoking novel, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. First and foremost, St. Cloud is about the unbreakable bond of devotion between brothers Sam and Charlie, who are forever changed by a tragic car accident. I am fascinated to read about sibling dynamics and love to see such a strong bond with these characters. Sherwood does a fantastic job developing the characters of both brothers. Charlie and Sam were just so relatable, making me miss my sister,  even more than I normally do. Two forces pulled me toward this novel almost simultaneously. My favorite author, Garth Stein, posted a comment on Facebook last week saying his best buddy Ben Sherwood’s novel, St. Cloud, was made into a soon-to-be-released major motion picture with Zac Efron cast as Charlie. I added the book to my library queue the following day when a friend and I went to the movies and I saw a preview for the film! I’m a curious person by nature and knew I’d want to see the film. Why do I always do this?? I walk out of the theater disappointed.  Frankly, it’s my own fault for having unrealistic expectations and a vivid imagination; the films always somehow fall short. Ah well, maybe one of these days I will learn from Pavlov’s Dog. In the meantime, I wanted the book under my belt first. Most of all, as I was with The Lovely Bones, I’m curious how the director is going to interpret the “in between” scenes.

Regardless of how the film turns out, I’m SO glad my interest was piqued into devouring this book at the pool over the weekend. Sherwood paces the action just perfectly. I was right along side Charlie’s struggle to find a place in this world after the accident. Charlie felt that he robbed Sam of life because of the accident. I could really sympathize with  how Charlie felt he didn’t deserve love or  happiness, as suffering was his due diligence. He wrapped himself in a bubble where he didn’t let anyone in for a while. These walls of limitation prevented him from truly feeling or moving on… that is, until Tess came along.  You will have to pick up this fantastic book for yourself to see how Tess flips Charlie and Sam’s worlds upside down.

In St. Cloud, Sherwood created an interesting world where tragedy is morphed into a renewal so beautiful, you will not want to put this book down. Clearly I was compelled….can’t you tell by my furrowed brow?

As you know if you follow this blog regularly, poolside is where we bookwormz get our best reading done. I couldn’t put this book down and finished it at the pool this afternoon. This novel was a thoroughly enjoyable read I recommend to everyone. I’ll be interested to see how the movie interprets this novel. Have you read any of Sherwood’s other works? What’s your take on books made into films? Would love to hear your thoughts! And if you haven’t already, there’s still time to enter to win our current summer giveaway. Click here for details!

When the goin’ gets hot, take a dip in the pool and crack open a great book this summer!

5/5 stars

29 down, 23 to go!

In progress, Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman



PS- below is where you’ll find us all summer chugging through this challenge!