268 of 277 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2006
Mitch Albom pays homage to all mothers with this novel that beautifully shows the enduring power of a mother's love, a love so strong it can transcend even death. The moral of the story is not particularly original and not even handled in a unique way. But, grab the hankies and prepare to spend several hours reminiscing along with Chick Benetto about the things you wish you had done better with your own mother. Chick Benetto has hit rock bottom---divorced, alcoholic, has-been baseball player, and now comes the ultimate slap-in-the-face---his beloved daughter does not invite him to her wedding. After being shut out of the biggest day in his only child's life, Chick sees no point in continuing his miserable life and attempts suicide. But for his suicide he is drawn once again to Pepperville Beach, to the modest home where he grew up with his mom, dad, and sister. That is, until his dad deserted the family and life changed dramatically. The surprise for Chick is that his mom is still in the house. Intellectually, he knows she died ten years ago but here she is---cooking his food, sharing stories, giving advice.
The reader learns about all the times Chick's mom stood up for him and all the times he let her down. The writing is smooth and poignant, the memories both joyful and sad. If you have lost your own parents, the words will be doubly sad. But Chick has been given a very special gift: he learns that when someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone and they can come back to you, even at unlikely times. Chick has the unheard of luxury of being able to spend just one more day with his mother, having the chance to ask questions about things that have bothered him, finding out at last why his father left, and much more. How does it happen? Is this just another ghost story or a religious experience for non-believers? I think I shed the most tears when I realized at novel's end who was telling the story.
I think sentimental readers will find this one enjoyable and uplifting. So take it for what it is, a nostalgic trip back to childhood, that period of time that never lets you go, even when you're so wrecked it's hard to believe you ever were a child.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2007
The first line I underlined when I started this book was: EVERY FAMILY IS A GHOST STORY. THE DEAD SIT AT OUR TABLES LONG AFTER THEY HAVE GONE.
The last line(s) I underlined at the end of the book were:
SHARING TALES OF THOSE WE'VE LOST IS HOW WE KEEP FROM REALLY LOSING THEM. ONE DAY SPENT WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING.
And so...based on these lines...you can get a feel for how any one person will relate if they've ever lost a loved one. I, personally, liked his TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE book much better--but this is worthy of reading just to find the precious lines within. ;)
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2006
By far, "Five People" is my favorite Mitch Albom book, but this book is worth a read. The other negative reviewers are missing the point, I think. Yes, the main character is a deflated, defeated, shell of a man, but that is precisely the point. The man is no hero....but again that is the crux of the story....how many of us are heroes? How many of us would like to reflect on our lives and maybe try and see things more clearly, try to better understand the choices we made, and the choices the people closest to us made? To understand the sacrifices people make for love?
Read the book, and then call your mother....if possible....if not, make peace in your heart..this book will help you do that.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
Mitch Albom is the author of "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". This book, as the others, is a fable-of-sorts; that is, a story that carries with it a meaning that goes beyond the ordinary.
This small novel (do we still use the term novella?) presents the story of a life that gets sidetracked and how intervention of a spiritual nature can restore it to equilibrium. The plot concerns a former professional baseball player whose life scrapes bottom. His family leaves him, his career dries up, and he is left with the inadequate consolation one can find in a bottle. At the moment of crisis, he is visited by his dead mother, who takes him on a journey of discovery about his life, his parents' lives, and the lives of others whose story intersects with his story.
We may tend to raise an eyebrow at the idea of a visit from "beyond"; however, in this, the reader is reminded of those spirit visitors to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol". In many ways, both that small classic and the film "It's a Wonderful Life" serve as counterpoint to this book.
It would be unfair to spoil the potential reader's enjoyment of the book by disclosing anything more of the plot, but suffice it to say that if entered into in this attitude, the reader may gain helpful points to ponder. Indeed, the book could very well serve as a springboard for discussion about the value of an individual's life to those around him or her, and the influence that people from our past can have on our thoughts and actions.
However, some of the concepts that are developed in the book may make it seem more a "new age" kind of a novel. If such an approach is distasteful to you, even in the realm of fantasy, then you probably would not want to read this book.
Similarly, those who would prefer not to deal with subjects such as alcoholism, divorce and suicidal thoughts may wish to pass this book by, or at leased approach it having been forewarned that it encompasses these.
If you find this review helpful you might want to read some of my other reviews, including those on subjects ranging from biography to architecture, as well as religion and fiction.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2006
One More Day is an American Fable, and I mean that in the best of ways. This "as told to me" tale is poignant and tender and perhaps a bit too story-ish, but that's what it is--a good story with a good meaning. Not every book has this intention, but this does, so I accepted the terms and kept reading.
Chick Bennito's life has spun wildly out of control. He's lost everything, decides to end it all and finds himself in a surreal place where he and his mother get one more day.
Who would not ask for one more day--to understand, forgive, and make right what time and life has unraveled? I closed the book and did some thinking.
129 of 158 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit that I found Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" a mostly unsatisfying piece of sentimental treacle, but I was led to his latest book because of the subject matter, the death of one's mother and the palpable regrets afterward for a life underappreciated. Whose life is what makes this a more textured effort since one expects the book to focus primarily on a put-upon mother when it becomes as much an exercise in rebuilding one's self-esteem. The book becomes even more worthwhile when the perspective moves away from the occasional navel-gazing.
Perhaps because I find some of the experiences depicted in the story quite cathartic, I am unexpectedly moved by the author's work this time. The rather simplistic story focuses on former baseball player Chick Benetto who is still depressed over his mother's death eight years later and attempts suicide. In the process, he gets to spend a day with his mother as he reflects on the past. You can see the moral messages coming a mile away and the supernatural aspects take on a somewhat unctuous quality, but Albom manages to make the story resonate in some unexpected ways. It's a quick read that I recommend for anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2007
I've read "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "Five People You Meet in Heaven", so when I found out that Mitch Albom had a new book, I had to buy it. I just finished it - only took 2 days. As with the other 2 books, it's an easy read, but mostly it's a compelling story. As a person who lost a parent at a relatively young age, the stories and images in "For One More Day" really touched me on so many levels. It was heart-warming as well as heart-breaking. I guess that's the story of so many families. I highly recommend this book. If it doesn't make you want to kiss your mother and buy her some flowers, I don't know what will!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
It's hard to believe that I've lived a complete life without reading a book by Mitch Albom. I've managed to value my loved ones, contemplate the nature of life and death, and cry at sappy Hallmark moments, all without ever reading the likes of Tuesdays with Morrie or The Five People You Meet in Heaven. With the release of his newest book, For One More Day, I wondered to myself: what have I been missing? Could my understanding of the world deepen, become more profound, if I just read something by this internationally recognized "feel good" author?
I'm being a bit of a snob here - hopefully that's obvious. I've looked down my spectacle-saddled nose at Albom and his four-hankie books for a while now, but my curiosity really did get the better of me, and I did read. And you know what? It wasn't so bad! I'm feeling a little repentant now.
For One More Day is the story of Charles "Chick" Benetto's rise to Major League stardom (using that term loosely) and his fall to shabby drunk. And all the people he hurts in between. The slim book focuses on Chick's attempt to utterly demolish himself, and the redemption he receives at the side of his dead mother. Yes, his dead mother. Chick admits that this could be some kind of ghost story, but it really isn't. It's about what remains when someone is gone, it's about pain that can be healed, it's about choosing to repair what can be repaired, while we can.
I enjoyed this little book, and I confess that I did shed a tear or two. I also laughed quite a bit, specifically at two categories that Chick reflects on a good deal: Times My Mother Stood Up for Me, and Times I Did Not Stand Up for My Mother. I laughed because some of the situations were funny, but mostly because they were so familiar. We don't often think of the ways we could have stood up for our parents, honored them for all they have sacrificed for us. In short, I think we don't often think of our parents as people at all. In For One More Day, Chick gets an awesome opportunity to see his mother's life through others' eyes, and understand the value of the person that she was. It ultimately inspires him to understand better the person he himself could be.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Mitch Albom learned a a lot from Morrie Schwartz and he shares that knowledge, that understanding...those truths..with us again in this book. (It is much better, more moving and effective than "The First Five People You Meet In Heaven," Mitch's second book.)
"We" are more than our phyiscal bodies--the essence of us, our personalities, our hopes, dreams, our imperfections, our fears--are more than our phyysical bodies. We are spiritual creations with a physical dimension. That's what this book is about--our spiritual being.
We are all imperfect beings in an imperfect world, most of us doing the best we can...This book is about our spirit, the essence of who we are and where we determine what is really important, what really matters and how and when we respond to those decisions--that wisdom.
This is a book about redemption...humanity, its faults, failures and, in the end, its redemption. I'm glad Mitch Albom found Morrie again...and I'm glad Mitch continues to share his perspectives and values with us, his readers. This is another good one, folks. You will not be disappointed.
42 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Of the small collection of short books that Mich Albom has written, this is the third of his books that I have read - and the first of them that has left me feeling disappointed having been drug through a moving, but maudlin and predictable 197 pages of one-thought mush. I am aware that my point of view about this book is not the dominant one - either here on Amazon.com or elsewhere - so I feel obliged to explain it in something more than tokenistically brief form yet without beating it up with more space (either on a written page or on line) than I feel it is worth. Here is my attempt to do so:
The other two of his books I have read are "Tuesdays With Morrie," a compelling tale of a young man getting to know an old one as he (the elder person, "Morrie,") approaches his death. It explores many of life's big issues in brief form. Youth and age; living and dying; telling and listening; connecting and just going through the motions. It is a warm explication of the ways in which, if we choose, we can learn from each other - even from someone we haven't know well or for a long time. In "The Five People You Meet In Heaven," again - but in a different form, Albom probes the issue of remorse, or self-recrimination and, ultimately, of forgiveness. Almost a spiritual tome - a morality story of a sort - I found that small book, too, to have been well worth the several hours I spent with it. Admittedly, I have not read his other two or three books. However, based on my experience with the two others I HAD read, I expected more and better from "For One More Day," a brief tale about a man who, in his own eyes, failed both his parents: mother out of neglect and recurring selfishness and his dad out of repeated failures to become who and what his father wanted him to become. The framework for the tale is structured around his spending a day with his mother, after her death and soon after his attempt to escape the ongoing anguish of his own life at his own hand.
"For One More Day" has one note - regret. And while regret is at the heart of his other works as well - here, it is THE note that plays alone - like a single tone piece of music. Now, I suppose that it could be argued that a beautiful chime is an example of worthwhile one-note music, but even the most beautiful of them is meant to be heard once and perhaps twice - and not every moment of every day. 197 pages of one tone is just too much. This biographically sounding novella is, I feel a bloated short story - perhaps worth 30 or 40 pages wherein the points can be made, the feelings articulated, empathy elicited and then ended. As it is presented here, the 'one day' seems to take a whole lot longer than that - and only one theme permeates the entire work.
I am a former English teacher and an admirer of short work. I find Haiku, for example, beautiful and succinct in it's 17-syllable expressiveness. I do enjoy a good novel, but find short stories that are well constructed and tightly written, at least as good reading as their longer, multi-chaptered shelf-mates. In no instance I can think of, is a good idea improved by repetition. If a thought - a feeling - a story can be fully and successfully told in ten pages, to spend 20 to do it is a waste of everyone's time and adds value only to the author who is paid by the word for what s/he writes.
Albom has shown he is capable of much better than this. I hope that his writing career is not permanently redirected by his success with this one. It would be a shame.