Review of Mitch Albom Book “For One More Day”
“For One More Day” is a thoroughly fascinating novel that stands up supremely well as a wonderful
piece of storytelling.
The author, Mitch Albom, who also wrote the highly acclaimed “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The
five people you meet in heaven” has dealt, on the surface, with a subject that must cross most people’s
minds; “What happens when you die and why do some people apparently come back from the dead for a second
The story of “Chick” Benetto is told mainly in flashbacks and takes you through his psychological
development as a young boy, a teenager, a freshman, a sometime successful baseball player and a failed plastic
bottle salesman. The story is about loyalties and choices, about regrets and remembered pleasures but it
focuses on Chick’s map of the world and how it can be redrawn with only a few pieces of vital information.
This is a book for mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. There is pause for thought here for everyone.
Do we ever really know our parents? Do our parents know us better than we know ourselves? Questions are posed
about the power that parents choose or don’t choose to use over their charges and how this affects their
developing view of life. The perennial poser about the unfair adulation that an absent parent gets and the
undue criticism that a single parent must endure is handled here in some agonizing moments, beautifully rendered
with personal letters from a loving mother to her churlish son and painfully played out in fleeting visits
and telephone calls from a self-absorbed father.
Mitch Albom’s observation of the old and the dying is ingenious. There are many instances in the book where
he clearly feels the need to explain some of the ramblings of the aged and the way they “see” people
that they knew, have conversations with them and become prepared for the inevitable final moment. His story
places Chick’s, now dead, mother as part of a service to the dying; easing them into the afterlife. The author’s
handling of this is exceptionally light. Very little is explained but you find yourself gaining a new level
of understanding by being a privileged observer.
The use of language; what is said and what is not said in the novel and the descriptions of body language
shine a light on the way our casualness can cause endless repercussions and echoes throughout the lives of
the people we touch. The wrong word, an untimely intervention can lose an opportunity for ever. Similarly,
the story deals with chasing dreams and how chasing other people’s dreams can be dramatically unfulfilling.
Failure in such circumstances is a double whammy; not only does Chick disappoint himself but he manages to
disappoint just about everyone around him.
You could argue that the book is about family patterning. Chick’s life seems to emulate the life of his father
as he appears to trace the same path of failed marriage and neglected children that his father chose. However,
this story reveals some startling differences between the two men. You could equally argue that the book
is about angels; benign spirits keeping a non-critical watch over our, sometimes clumsy, efforts at living
a life and allowing us an opportunity to review things on the way through the exit door.
Book Reviewed by Mike Kay