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.
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. ;)
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.
on October 19, 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
"For One More Day" is a good read. It's simple and sweet and Albom's continually repeated message about viewing life from different perspectives is probably the most important lesson any of us can learn.
In the novel Charles "Chick" Benetto is a middle-aged, former small time baseball player and alcoholic. He's recently divorced and attempts a suicide spurred by his daughters wedding (one in which Chick is purposefully uninvited to). Much to Chick's surprise, he goes to his childhood home and meets his mother...the surprising part is that Pauline (his mother) has been dead for some time. In true "It's a Wonderful Life" fashion, Chick with the help of his mother, is allowed to review his life's choices, but more importantly his perspective on the choices that he and those he loves have made.
As much as I enjoyed "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Five People you meet in Heaven", Albom needs to change his focus on death and enlightenment being synonymous. While you can't help but become a bit weepy at Chick's revelations and subsequent enlightenment, it's hard to escape the feeling that you've read/watched/heard this story before. This "ghost story" is a sweet one, but in my opinion should be Alboms last. He is a wonderful writer and has an extremely important message about family, priorities and most importantly that happiness in life absolutely requires that we see life through different perspectives. I for one love the message, but wish Mitch Albom would use a different story next time to teach it.
All in all for those that enjoyed his first two books, "For One More Day" is definitely worth reading and a nice way to spend an afternoon. However, I hope Mitch comes up with a different twist next time in order to send his important message.