Meet Sam, the straitlaced computer-science major from Brigham Young University. And then meet Charly, the sparkling, quick-witted girl who steps into his world and turns it upside down. Their courtship is a never-ending round of ups and downs- literally. On their first date Charly tricks Sam into taking a Ferris wheel ride, then tells the operator they're engaged! All of this seems to be a little more than Sam can cope with. But he gradually comes to appreciate Charly's point of view. From the girl who loves to laugh, he learns to do the same. He finds out for the first time what it's like to be really alive. Charly is a story of joy and spontaneity, learning and loving, and, most of all, growing.
The Story Behind Charly (1980)
This novel began as a short story published by The New Era Magazine (1974) When I was a bishop in South Dakota (1972-1976), a young woman I was interviewing for her goals program asked me, “Bishop, do you have any goals?” It was a little embarrassing to admit I didn’t, so that’s when I began to set goals. In the fall of 1979, I wrote on a 3 by 5 card. “I will write a novel. I will start right away and finish it by March.”
Since my wife Sherry is from Long Island, is a convert, and has a great sense of humor, it was natural to give Charly those characteristics. In addition, in 1970, Bill Southwell, a dear friend of mine and a colleague in the Physics Department at SDSM&T, lost his wife Charis to an incurable illness. Seeing how he managed this great loss was an inspiration to everyone, including me.
The initial reception from the editors at Deseret Book to my first draft was not positive. One of their editorial readers said, “Too bad this isn’t publishable.” I revised it several times before it was ready for publication.
Charly has been the most popular and best selling of my novels. Also, the movie Jack Weyland’s Charly, directed by Adam Anderegg, has been enjoyed by many. The reason the movie was called Jack Weyland’s Charly is not because I am totally self-centered but because there is another movie named Charly starring Cliff Robertson and Clair Booth.
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