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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 43 (next | show all)
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 |
Charlie St. Cloud is about a boy that goes to a game with his brother and dog. On his way home from the game Sam (his brother) distracts him with talk of the moon. A truck hits them crushing and killing all three of them. They get Charlie , Sam and the dog out. They try to shock the boys back to life. They are in some kind of ghost world. Then Charlie fades away because he got shocked back to life.

He can see ghosts and plays catch with Sam every night. Then he falls in love with a girl and she dies. I thought that was awful. His mom moved away after Sam's death and remarried and had more kids. The end was great but slightly cheesy. It's so obvious what he does to get the girl back after she almost died. ( )
  br14kaiho | Nov 1, 2013 |
I like the review from Jesse which recommends this for collectors of Precious Moments figurines. Only could get through it because I was stuck on a plane with it. ( )
  alyson | Aug 29, 2013 |
Surprisingly I didn't cry while reading this book, and that's the only way I could tell that this is not a Nicholas Sparks book. Well that and the ghost characters and the fact it didn't take place on the coast of North Carolina (close, just a bit farther up the East Coast in an awesome town in Massachusetts). This seemed like the same story as Just Like Heaven but with a strong brother relationship alongside the romance. Despite the fact that this wasn't much of an original book, and it was really predictable, I still gave it 4 stars because it made me feel good about life, and the only part that was boring was all the technical sailing terms. The author really did his research though, questioning and visiting experts in various fields, even spending time doing physical labor in a cemetery so he could understand Charlie's livelihood better.

Charlie St. Cloud is a simple book, and I would imagine the movie would be pretty good. Not much happens so I think it would be hard to screw up. ( )
  __Lindsey__ | Apr 17, 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 brigthest 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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