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

Sometimes, I just need a chick-lit read. I’ve been trying to get into a whole stack of “serious” books and it’s just not happening. As summer comes to a close, I want to enjoy every second instead of working my brain into a novel I’m not really feeling. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud has been sitting on my shelf on a while and, even though it’s sappy and predictable, I really enjoyed it!

I hate feeling like I need to justify a choice, but I think this one may garner plenty of dirty looks. After the movie version of this novel (starring none other than Zac Efron) was released a year or so back, to not-so-good reviews, the book has received some of the same undeserved flack. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is the story of Charlie, a man who survived a terrible accident that claimed the lives of his younger brother and dog when he was a teen. Ever since that night, Charlie has lived with not only guilt, but the haunting of his brother. Charlie takes care of the local cemetery, and every evening, goes into the woods to play catch with the ghost of his little brother. He organizes his life around this ritual, never missing a night for years. Then, Charlie meets Tess, a free-spirited sailor who wants to see the globe and everything changes.

This one has a bit of a twist, so I won’t say anymore than that. I know the ghost thing may seem a bit strange, but it really fits with the novel and doesn’t come off as odd. I actually found the plot to be quite unique; sometimes characters are haunted by memories and regrets, but Charlie is literally haunted by his brother. The book is written like a Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult novel, full of heartstring-tugging moments. However, I never once felt like it was cheesy or trying too hard. The emotions are honest and real and I found myself really wrapped up in this one.

If you’re looking for something to settle your brain before the long haul of the school year, check out The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.

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