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The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109 Year Old Man: Audiobook Review

I wish I could tell you where I found this book, but I'm thankful I did. One ordinary man lived an extraordinary life filled with changes and challenges within society and their personal life. A true story of goodness and grit, courage and kindness, and, above all, doing the right thing. If you like to listen to stories about someone who lived through various decades, I recommend this.






Quick Summary

  • Humor & Wisdom

  • Narrated By the Author

  • Adapting to Life Changes

  • The Will of the Human Spirit

Book Summary

When David Von Drehle moves his family to Kansas City, he learns his neighbor, Charlie White, is no ordinary neighbor. Not many can say they met their 102-year-old neighbor outside, let alone that their 102-year-old neighbor was out washing their girlfriend's car on a sunny day. This looked too good to be true for David as he was on a quest to provide a story of how happiness can still be found when experiencing disruptions.

As a gift to David's children, he sets out to hear the story about his neighbor Charlie White. Born before radio and passed away as an owner of a smartphone, Charlie lived his life armored with this simple wisdom told by his mother. Do the right thing. In doing the right thing, Charlie lived across different decades and continents. He swung through the bandstands during the Jazz Age, then drifted into the Depression Era, where Charlie raced across Kansas City in an ambulance through gangster wars. Soon, Charlie became Dr. White, helping partake in improvising techniques for open heart surgery but also pulling tonsils right in the patient's home.

This is one man's story of resilience and willingness to grow and live these truths. Work hard. Spread joy. Take a chance. Enjoy wonder.


This is a charming non-fiction to start off 2024. The fact I'm using the words "charming" and "non-fiction" together in a sentence makes me grin. "The Book of Charlie" is the prime example of what I believe in. We all are walking stories. I greatly admire what David Von Drehle puts together by sharing Charlie's story and revealing what was happening historically while Charlie was living his life. This story is woven together as a biography, historical novel, and, slightly, a self-help book.

David's narration of "The Book of Charlie" is like sitting with a friend to hear a good story. I could tell David told it like it was. He was a neighbor learning about the extraordinary life of his fellow neighbor and, later, friend. It makes me want to sit and listen to someone's story and all their experiences. 

The one thing I greatly admire about this book is the message behind it. Charlie never became a victim of change. The one thing in life that is always constant is change, and Charlie, throughout his years, somehow mastered the art of thriving in change. I won't give away any spoilers, but what this man experienced in life is remarkable.


If you're a reader who likes to listen to a good story about someone's life, I recommend this book. There are some parts in the book where it slows and draws out a bit through the historical references, but overall, I smiled when I finished this story. It made me think of my grandparents' lives, what they experienced, and how I would love to hear them share their stories again. This is a beautiful quick read or listen to with a great message behind it. To do the right thing. 

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 Stars)



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Book Rating

Excellent/ Highly Recommend
Great/ Recommended
Good Story
Okay / Struggle to Finish
Meh / Did Not Finish
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