[Book Review] For One More Day by Mitch Albom

Rating: ★★★★

I am usually kind of a person who goes with classic literature for reading fiction. Classic literatures,such as Anna Karerina ,Demian and Les Miserables, tend to give deeper and more philosophical messages or questions about human life (yeah, especially Dostoyevski’s books are big challenges to my brain that I mostly give up at the middle).  But it does not mean that you should  disdain reading simpler or more modern books.  Sometimes reading simple books can be a nice breeze from complex classic literatures. In this sense, ‘For One More Day‘ was a great choice(special thanks to my mentor in my company for lending this book to me :)).

While it has quite a simple storyline, it motivated me to think about my past relationship with my parents which is a very important aspect for many people.  Mitch Albom certainly has a talent of delivering fundamental lessons in a simple and understandable way. Although some people might find his books are clichés, some of his books have been loved by many readers around the world.

Plot

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley “Chick” Benetto was told by his father, “You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear by divorce with his mother when Charley is on the verge of adolescence.
Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life.
He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother, who died eight years earlier, is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened..

What follows is the one “ordinary” day so many of us yearn for, a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain the family secrets, and to seek forgiveness. Somewhere between this life and the next, Charley learns the astonishing things he never knew about his mother and her sacrifices. And he tries, with her tender guidance, to put the crumbled pieces of his life back together.

Comment

There are many in this world who would do anything to get just that one chance to make amends for their past misgivings. Yet very few get this golden opportunity while the majority is saddled with that nostalgic remorse and regret.

“For one more day” takes one through a wistful journey which encounters a strange and enigmatic tryst with the ghost of the past. The story unfolds the main character Charley Benetto (Chick) whose life is in ruins. Being unwanted at his own daughter’ wedding was the last straw of having lost everything and he is ready to give up his life. As he takes a midnight ride to his hometown, he encounters his dead mother much to his amazement and everything seemed as normal as ever.

Instances from his life are brought to light with a quick flashback through the book. Being with his mother for that one day makes him realize the lack of time he spent with her and how out of touch he had been with her. Yet she had managed to retain that special place in his heart and the close call was what brought her to him and his encounter with the other world. As this journey nears an end, his surprise knows no bounds as he unravels several loopholes and a shocking truth in the end. He also gets the second chance to convey his unexpressed explanation for a certain act of his, which to his surprise was known to her all long.

This book is intriguing and emphasizes beautifully on a mother-son relationship. It makes one reflective and also makes ones eyes go moist and choke with emotion. The few words quoted in the book as the character’s father tells him “mama’s boy or daddy’s boy chick? What’s it gonna be?” As he recalls this statement in the end, he is made to realize by his mother that “a child should never have to choose.”

Many may dispute this as being just another ghost story. Yet there are times that we draw parallels and examples from our lost loved ones that make it seem as though they were never gone. They retain their omnipresence in our memories. There are some individuals to whom we postpone our visits; taking them for granted only to realize that one fine day they are no longer there. And then we grieve at our actions for having said something that had hurt them or not having spent quality time with them when they were alive. This thought continues to haunt us till eternity.

This book teaches one to never take anything or anyone for granted. Life’s uncertainty is such that we may never get another chance. So why not take the one life hands out and utilize it to the maximum as the saying goes,” If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” One should ensure this ‘lemonade’ remains sweet instead of letting it turn sour.

After finishing this book, I called up to my parents right away  🙂

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