Book of the Week: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
One of my patients gave me this book before I went away. Said it was a good book for a plane. And so it was; this book is perfect fare for a plane ride, train ride, afternoon on the beach, or for frazzled mothers who miss reading but those brains are too fried to tackle anything too difficult during nap time. It's mildly entertaining, entirely predictable, and doesn't take much brain power. I fell asleep on the plane reading it and was able to pick right up where I left off without back tracking to figure out where I was in the plot. I cared just enough about the characters to continue reading but not so much that if I lost the book half way through I would've gone half mad because I wanted to know what happened to them.
The story revolves around Charlie St. Cloud, an entirely likable leading man-type guy in his early 20s. He had a near death experience in his teens which left him with the ability to see people after they had died but before they had transitioned over to the other side. Which complicated things with his love interest. Kind of like "The Sixth Sense" as a romantic comedy. But not a romantic comedy with Isla Fisher or Vince Vaughn. It wasn't that funny. Maybe a Jennifer Anniston and Ryan Reynolds kind of romantic comedy. Or Scarlett Johansson. She's not actually all that funny, but she looks good and she's a bit intimidating and almost snooty. She'd be perfect for the love interest in this book.
Anyway, without getting into all the subtleties of the plot -- it ends exactly the way you'd think it would. Which is why you'd read a book like this to begin with. It's kind of reassuring in a totally unrealistic way. Nicholas Sparks could have written it. Although if Nicholas Sparks had written it, it would have already been made into a movie by now. Maybe starring Rachel Mc Adams.
Overall, it was a fairly pleasant way to spend the time at 30,000 feet. I'd recommend it for that purpose.
Though in general, I 'm not a big fan of those Nicholas Sparks-y kind of books. My life never works out that way. It's always a bit more messy and non-sensical. For instance, I've gone into the grocery store and knocked over a display. This did not result in the meeting of a grocery clerk-who-is-actually-a-divorced-but-wildly-successful-architect-but-due-to-the-stress-of-the-divorce --no! TRAGIC DEATH of his wife! -- had-to-return-to-his-hometown-and-work-in-a-grocery-store. Usually they just page a sullen teenager for cleanup on aisle 5.
But every now and then, it's ok to indulge in a fairy tale for grown ups. You come away with exactly what you had hoped for.