What I Learned From Charlie St. Cloud

Hey there. Today I have my third book review of 2014: Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood. You might be more familiar with the movie starring Zac Efron. I had actually seen the movie first a few years ago and got the book for Christmas one year. I just got around to reading it now and was definitely not disappointed. 
What I Say
Image via Goodreads
I think a large part of the reason why I loved Charlie St. Cloud so much was because I had already established a relationship with the characters. I had seen the movie and I knew what happened, especially since the movie followed the novel pretty accurately. This didn't, however, ruin the experience. I still felt that twinge of nervousness when we didn't know if they would find Tess shipwrecked. I still cried when Charlie and Sam crashed on the bridge in the beginning. I cried when Sam's spirit was released and he became free to move on to the next level. I cried when Charlie said his final goodbye to Sam, both of them. Regardless of whether or not I knew what was going to happen, I still reacted strongly in an emotional capacity. I give this credit to Ben Sherwood's incredible talent as a writer.
Some call Charlie St. Cloud sappy and a total chick lit. I call Charlie St. Cloud a story about life and death and how life is not lived unless you free yourself from anything that holds you back. For Charlie and Sam, their promise held them back. It held Charlie back from living a normal life and going after things he never dreamed he could actually want. It held Sam back from freeing his spirit completely to be at complete peace in the afterlife. Even Tess, the most free spirit in the novel was held back by her arrogance and stubborn nature to defy everything in life and it even almost cost her her life. Charlie St. Cloud is more than a story about love and loss. It's a story about life and living each day to its fullest because if there's one thing we learn from Ben Sherwood's novel, it's that you last moment can be when you're twelve or one-hundred. I loved this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
What Goodreads Says
In a snug New England fishing village, 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. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie's life. Their beautiful and uncommon connection leads to a race against time and a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go — and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.