The Twelfth Angel by Og Mandino

“Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”

In writing this review, I decided not to focus much on the technicalities of the book but on the lessons it tries to deliver. In this book we come to know Timothy Noble, an eleven-year-old child who try to live his life to the fullest. He is not very good at baseball, but he kept on trying, the whole time with determination and a big smile on his face. Although some of the older and better kids laughed and smirked at his constant mistakes and misses, he was never put down and never stopped. He was by far the worst player of all the kids who tried out. But he never never give up.

Let me tell you about my friend Rose. She used to call me “Little Angel”. I can’t remember what is the reason behind that nick name she gave me. But once in awhile,  when I did a little something for her she said to me “anghel talaga kita” (you’re really my angel). I guess, we can be like my friend Rose. She managed to see some of her friends as her angel. She try to appreciate every little good thing in a person. And in a way, it makes that person feel appreciated. I believe that each person we encounter in our lives is given to us for a purpose. They are meant to teach us something no matter how little it may be. We just have to be more open. Like with children, there are so much to learn from them. They are young, vibrant, full of hope and optimism. They live in the moment without much worries of what’s next to come.

As for the book, Og Mandino is one of my favorite authors. I love every book of him that I’ve read and The Twelfth Angel is no different. It’s uplifting and simply moving. It’s an easy book to read. An enjoyable and entertaining story with easy to recall characters and not complicated plot. The story is not something unique but the purposed it serves as an inspirational tale is clearly accomplished (at least to me). There are so much to learn from this book. It reminds us how to fully live our lives. To enjoy everything every moment of everyday. To never lose hope and be brave. It teaches us that life is full of purpose and wonder. That we are put on this earth for a reason, to make a difference and find our purpose. And when we find that purpose we will have every reason to keep going even when the going looks impossible and hopeless.

The Death And Life Of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

“We all shine on. You just have to release your hearts, alert your senses, and pay attention. A leaf, a star, a song, a laugh. Notice all the little things, because somebody is reaching out to you.”

I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Death of Charlie St. Cloud if I am not watching the movie adaptation. I was hesitant reading the book first before seeing the movie but based on my experience, most of the time I love the book more than the movie adaptation. So I go with reading it first, so it would not ruin my reading experience with the book.

The book is just a few hundred pages which I finished reading in one sitting for a couple of hours. Which simply states how much I enjoy the book. It’s simply entertaining and heart warming.

More than the love story between Charlie and Tess this book is the love story between the two brothers – Charlie St. Cloud and his younger brother Sam. The connection that the two brothers share is extraordinary and sweet. It is a love so deep, a promise kept so strong and care more than life of their own.

I love the two characters. I envy the connection between them. When Sam lost his life in the accident and Charlie survived, their bond didn’t stop there. Charlie kept his promise to Sam. Somehow it’s good but keeping his promise also means loosing his own life and happiness. Holding on to the past disrupts the person within him. Charlie didn’t care about that until he met Tess and realized his purpose for living. He learned to let go and find his own life and happiness without totally loosing Sam. Sam on the other hand had his own share of sacrifices too by accepting and letting go of his big brother.

I like how the author delivers his story in a perfect paces of actions. It doesn’t take too long to get the story going. Everything is in just a right amount of details. Not too dragging at all. The writing style is flowing with many heart-tugging sweet lines. The descriptive writing is amazing. It has a serene feel to it. I felt like I could feel the breeze of wind, the splash of the water, the smell of the grass and even the spirit ride. I loved every view of it. The author has such amazing way with words, it’s lyrical yet simple. As if the most simple sentences carry so much weight with them. I found myself laughing at some jokes and sympathize from deep conversations.

The story is filled with emotions and life lessons. It will give you hope and make you believe in miracles. The concept of life after death is something interesting. I wonder what’s really out there beyond this life. The story presents choices between two worlds. It shows both the magic in life and the magic in death. The beauty of love, of loss, and of moving on. It is engaging, touching, moving, mystical and full of hope.

Here is the book description from Goodreads:

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Luminous, soulful, and filled with unforgettable characters, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those rare, wise books that reveal the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the worst pain of loss into hope, healing, and even laughter. Suspenseful and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds us that sometimes tragedies can bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts.