Saturday, April 3, 2010

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

This bittersweet little book poses the question: What would you do if you were granted one more day with a loved one who had passed on?

As a child, Charley "Chick" Benetto was forced by his father to make a choice--to be either a "Daddy's boy" or a "Mama's Boy," it had to be one or the other, not both. Charley chose his father, ignoring and taking for granted the bottomless well of love his mother had for him and sometimes even aping his father's callousness and hurting her with words or indifference.

Charley worshipped his father like a hero and made baseball his life's ambition just to please him, until the day his father simply disappeared without an explanation or a goodbye.Charley's mother, the pretty Posey Benetto, was left in an unenviable position, a divorcee in the 1950s, a time when this was still considered somewhat scandalous and unsavory, regarded with suspicion by other women and as fair game by certain men, excluded from the world of parties and backyard barbecues she had been a part of as a respectable wife and mother. She was also forced to deal with a hurt and resentful, angry little boy who didn't understand why his father had abandoned him.

Years later, Charley has hit rock bottom, he is an alcoholic whose big-time baseball career and marriage have fizzled, he has lost his money through a fraudulent investment scheme, and been fired from his salesman's job. So he decides to kill himself. On his way back to his old home, where it all began, he is in a car accident. He awakens in his childhood home and finds his mother, who has been dead for eight years,waiting to welcome him, to spend that one more day with him, and with gentle, loving guidance help him put the fractured pieces of his life back together. And Charley finally learns the truth about why his father left him and that it ultimately wasn't that he made the wrong choice when he was forced to choose between his parents, but he should never have been made to choose at all.

This sentimental story of love and redemption is like a ghost that will haunt the reader long after the last page has been turned.

2 comments:

librarypat said...

Mitch Albom's books always tug at your heart and make you think.
What a gift one more day would be, especially with those we never got to say good-bye to and those who died much too young. I would give anything to have just a couple of hours with my Mom. She died at 47 before I got married and before she had any grandchildren. There were still two middle school children at home. She died in just 4 weeks from the discovery of her cancer. The doctor said he hadn't told her she was terminal, so everyone was pretending it was nothing and she would recover. I realize it was 1971 and times have changed, but that was a terrible thing to do to a family. No one got to say good-bye and there was no closure. She deserves to know we are doing well and she is still thought of and loved.

Brandy Purdy said...

I was thinking of my mother too when I wrote and posted this review. Eight years ago today she went into the hospital for the last time. Part of me would love one more day with her, but another part of me would be terrified as I know how disappointed in me she would be.