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Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel by Ben Sherwood
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Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel (2004)

by Ben Sherwood

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
The movie version of the book was good enough to interest me in Ben Sherwood's novel, and frankly I'm glad it did. There were times when the booked seemed slightly campy and melodramatic, but in the end it caused me to think a lot about the future and what the afterlife might hold in store. No one knows, of course, but it would be a shame if the end was nothingness. I'm not a religious person, but I hope the next level is as wonderful and enticing as Mr Sherwood wrote.

"Nobody ever gets to see what could have been" is now one of my favorite quotes. ( )
  mguernsey | Sep 28, 2014 |
Em uma pacata vila de pescadores da Nova Inglaterra, Charlie St. Cloud cuida dos gramados e monumentos de um antigo cemitério onde seu irmão mais jovem, Sam, está enterrado. Após sobreviver ao acidente de carro que tirou a vida de seu irmão, Charlie recebe um dom - ele consegue enxergar, conversar e até mesmo brincar com o espírito de Sam. É neste mundo místico que entra Tess Carroll, uma cativante mulher treinando para navegar sozinha ao redor do mundo em um veleiro. O destino faz com que seu barco seja apanhado por uma violenta tempestade, trazendo-a para a vida de Charlie. Sua bela e incomum ligação os leva a uma corrida contra o tempo e a uma escolha entre a vida e a morte, entre o passado e o futuro, entre apegar-se ou deixar o passado para trás.
  melissa.gamador | Sep 5, 2014 |
Don't hate me for this, dear readers, but in this case I have to say - the Zac Efron movie was better than this book. I know, I know! It's almost sacrilege. But, sadly, true. I can promise it doesn't happen often.

Charlie and Sam St. Cloud are the closest of brothers, and when Sam dies in a tragic car accident their bond transcends the here and now to include the inbetween. Due to a promise made just before Charlie was shocked back to life, Sam now hangs between the present and the afterlife. Charlie is also stuck. Since he made his promise to Sam, Sam appears to him every night at sunset in the cemetery where he is buried and Charlie now lives as caretaker. They play catch, they swing, they swim in the river. Neither brother has yet been capable of moving on so they are stuck in the inbetween. Enter Tess Carroll, a sailor who makes Charlie question whether this is really what he wants.

Overall, the story premise was good. And this is why I liked one and not the other. The author had a good idea. Unfortunately, he butchered it with his writing. I'm not sure if it's because I already knew the outcome, but I just wasn't really interested while I was reading. I found there to be a lot of 'telling' as opposed to 'showing' and that a lot of the time I wasn't reading about things that were happening, but instead things about the characters. I was rather bored and waiting for something to happen.

I couldn't understand how and why Charlie and Tess fell in love, it felt a bit superficial to read and I just didn't believe in it. As characters they both seemed a bit wooden and lacking in actual depth. The author just told me stuff about them but didn't let me see these things in action. I just couldn't stay interested because even though there was a story, it felt like nothing was happening. I hoped this book would make me feel something - but I didn't feel anything. I didn't hate it, didn't love it, just mildly tolerated it. And it shouldn't have taken long to read as it was only 269 pages but it took longer than usual for a book this size, reflecting my lack of interest.

I wanted to like it, I did. Based on the movie I thought I was in for a good read but in the end its just another book to put on my shelf and forget about it. It has been a few years since I saw the movie, so it will be interesting to watch it again now and see if I still like it as much as I did back then. Although I'm sure the presence of Zac Efron helps! ( )
  crashmyparty | Aug 12, 2014 |
It was a nice, well written story that has similarities with "Ghost" and "City of Angels". It has a lot of unexpected twists. The book is sad and happy at the same time. So if you like a story about 2nd chances and miracles you might enjoy this one. However, I hated the part when Charlie and Tess made love because it was creepy and weird, imagine having sex with a "ghost". ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 3, 2014 |
So I read this book in a day. I know a lot of the other reviews said that it is an obvious story with a trite romance, but personally I thought it was a lovely little tale well told. There were a few technical terms that might have been explained for those of us who didn't grow up sailing, but it by no means took away from the story, and certainly wasn't enough to drop the books star rating. This was compared to The Time Travelers Wife, and while it didn't quite live up to those standards in my heart, it did have a similar feel. Now I'll avoid the movie at all costs so it's not ruined forever. ( )
  HeartlessOne42 | Nov 14, 2013 |
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Epigraph
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

-Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. -Thornton Wilder
Dedication
To Karen, as always, in memory of Richard Sherwood
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Charlie St. Cloud wasn't the best or brightest boy in Essex County, but he was surely the most promising.
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Book description
Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother's life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam's spirit.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 055338693X, Paperback)

Questions for Ben Sherwood About Charlie St. Cloud

Q: Did you always imagine your book becoming a movie?
A: In a word...no. I quit a great job at NBC News in New York to write this book. It was a risky career move. I wish I could say the road was easy, but it wasn’t. There were major creative challenges and serious professional setbacks. Indeed, the route from blank page to the finished book might well be described as a near-death publishing experience. Perhaps that’s why I never really imagined this book becoming a movie. Indeed, the very idea of a film adaptation seemed farfetched. As one of my close friends always said: "I’ll believe Charlie St. Cloud is a movie when I’m sitting in the theater and eating popcorn."

Q: How involved were you with the movie and did you write the screenplay?
A: The producers and studio were generous to include me at many stages of the process but I wasn’t involved with the movie or screenplay. I was fortunate to visit the production twice, once on location in a cemetery and another time on a soundstage in Vancouver. Each time, I relished how filmmakers turned some of the book’s tiniest details into movie reality. For instance, Major League Baseball sent three small Red Sox mitts for Sam to use when he played catch with Charlie. I watched an assistant prop master carry a brand-new red mitt around all day, rubbing it constantly to give it a well-worn appearance.

On another occasion, the director showed me the closing shot of the film. Today, words still fail to describe the exhilarating experience of seeing Charlie and Tess literally sailing into the sunset. Seven years earlier, in the quiet of my little writing room, I had imagined these two young people on a boat aimed at the open ocean. Suddenly, they were on the screen, leaning into each other with wind tousling their hair and sails, steering a Gryphon Solo, one of the world’s fastest fifty-foot sailboats, filmed by a camera mounted on a helicopter hovering above.

Q: How does it feel to see your book turned into a movie?
A: Quite simply, I’m filled with gratitude. To create the movie version of Charlie St. Cloud, it took 28 actors, 34 stunt people, and some 250 crew. When I visited the set in Vancouver, I tried my best to thank every single one, including the wrangler responsible for a noisy flock of geese, the messy bane of Charlie’s existence.

When I called my wife in Los Angeles, she asked, "How does it feel?" I thought for a moment. Then I answered: "I want to hug every person I meet."

Q: Did you imagine Zac Efron as Charlie St. Cloud?
A: In candor, I never imagined Zac Efron in the role of Charlie. Wrecked by loss and grief, Charlie was a character who had wasted many years of his precious life. I always imagined Charlie as much older and much sadder. Thank goodness I’m not a movie producer.

I salute the studio and producers for realizing that Efron was a perfect choice. Young, dynamic, and charismatic, he embodies the promise of Charlie St. Cloud without the burden and loss. With Efron’s vibrant presence and performance, a sometimes weighty story feels more hopeful and uplifting. As I told Efron when we met in the cemetery in Vancouver, I’m delighted and very thankful that he took the part and filled it with vitality.

Q: How do you feel about the movie being made in Vancouver, Canada instead of Marblehead, Massachussetts, where the novel takes place?
A: I love Marblehead and the people of the town. While researching the book, I traveled to Marblehead several times to walk among the tombstones in Waterside Cemetery, eat breakfast with fishermen at the Driftwood before dawn, drink beers with 'Headers at Maddie's, and compete in my first and only sailboat race.

Vancouver is a country away from the wonderful town where I situated the story. But a movie adaptation isn't supposed to be a literal translation of a book. It's an interpretation. While I sincerely hoped that the film would be made in Massachusetts--and while the filmmakers tried their best too--I understood the financial decision to pick Canada, where production costs are significantly lower.

Given this choice, the filmmakers did a great job transplanting Charlie and Sam's story to the Pacific Northwest, which looks absolutely spectacular on film.

Q: Your writing seems to focus on questions of life and death. Why?
A: Maybe it's my age or life experience but I've spent a lot of time thinking about how we overcome grief and loss and make the most of our time on earth. These are subjects that have come to occupy my recent work. Over the last few years, I wrote a nonfiction book called The Survivors Club, exploring the secrets and science of the world’s most effective survivors and thrivers. Interviewing survivors around the world, I discovered even more proof that love is a powerful and universal survival tool. In my own life, falling in love with my future wife, Karen, helped unlock the stranglehold of my father’s sudden and untimely death 17 years ago. (That’s why I dedicated the book to both of them.) In Charlie's case, discovering Tess helped him break free of the cemetery and the suffocating grip of grief.

Q: You have two young sons. What do you hope they take away from this book some day?
A: When I was leaving the movie set in Vancouver to fly home to Los Angeles, one of the producers generously asked if I wanted a souvenir from the production. I asked for one of Sam’s red mitts from Major League Baseball. Our two young boys can play catch with it. Then some day when they outgrow it, the glove can sit in my office, a reminder of the power of brotherly love and what happens when you take risks, seize life, and set your imagination free.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The powerful bond between two brothers--one alive and the other killed in a terrible accident--unexpectedly transcends the barriers of life and death, and it is up to one enchanting woman to make their world right.

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