Mitch Albom, author of classics Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, has done it again. His fourth novel does not disappoint. Albom once again offers an imperial sugar cane rush in For One More Day, proving why he is one of the most sentimental, emotionally stimulating, and endearing novelists of our age.
For One More Day is similar to The Five People You Meet in Heaven in that it begins with the end. Albom develops the protagonist in a relatively novel way. I don’t think I rooted for him at any point in the novel. There was disgust, there was pity, and there were moments of “Wow, how could he even think of doing that?” This story is a celebration of mothers everywhere and the limitless, infinite, and boundless love they have for their children, even for a child like Charles “Chick” Benetto.
Chick was not around when his mother died and lied to everyone about where he was right before she passed on. With his mother out of his life, things only got worse. His wife divorced him. His daughter stopped talking him. He began drinking, and became just another washed up ballplayer. He was an embarrassment, so much so that his daughter did not even bother to invite him to her wedding or even tell him about it until long after the fact. So he drank, then he drank some more, and then he quite possibly made the best mistake of his life; he committed suicide and got to spend “one more day” with his eternally loving, infinitely forgiving mother.
According to Chick’s dad, “you can either be a daddy’s boy or you can be a mama’s boy. You can’t be both.” He’s right. Chick very much wanted to be a daddy’s boy because his dad’s love for him was and remained insignificant. So Chick was forced to be a “mama’s boy against his own volition.” The harsh realities of being forced to be a mama’s boy are evident in the self-explanatory chapters titled, “Times My Mother Stood Up For Me” and “Times I did not Stand Up For My Mother.” They are extremely powerful chapters which really show the unending love Chick’s mother, Pauline, has for him. These powerful flashbacks juxtapose perfectly with the disdain Chick seems to have for Pauline’s affection. I don’t consider myself a particularly horrible son, but these chapters left me with a lump of guilt on my chest because there is a little of Chick in each and every one of us and there is a bit of Pauline in each and every one of our mothers. This book made me call my mother and tell her I was sorry for everything, and I bet it will make each and every one of you to do the same.
For One More Day is a gut wrenching tribute to mothers everywhere and really shows the impact of love in our lives. When hope is lost and love seems nowhere to be found, you can bet your life that there is one place you can always find it: your mother. Chick’s mother had passed away and still managed to envelop him in the warmth of her love to save his life—that is the power of motherly love. And if you don’t believe me, do yourself a favor and find a copy of For One More Day, grab a box of tissues, and prepare to believe in the power of your mother’s love.