Book: For One More Day
Author: Mitch Albom
Thickness: 208 pages (hardcover)
Tagline: “If you had the chance, just one chance, to go back and fix what you did wrong in life, would you take it?”
I’ve only read one Mitch Albom book before this one – Tuesdays With Morrie – and it was such a superb and inspirational book. That sort of set my expectations quite high when I picked up For One More Day to read.
Although not as touching and lively as Tuesdays With Morrie, this book sure surprised me in many other ways!
“This is a story about a family and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at out tables long after they have gone.”
Great starting hook to a great story.
For One More Day is a touching story related to Albom by Chick Benneto, a former baseball player who was struggling from life’s depressions. Often drunk, his wife had left him, he was in a miserable sales job, etc. The breaking point came when his daughter didn’t even invite him to her wedding…
Depressed, Chick decided to take his own life. However, after a series of ‘failures’ of suicide attempts, he ended up in his old house, the one that he grew up in. He was shocked to see his dead mother who was very well alive there, welcoming him to join her in conversation for one day.
Thus begins this extraordinary, yet supernatural tale of how Chick spent one day with his mother. During this day, he would learn a lot about his mother, why she did the things for him, and most importantly some lessons of life that would change Chick’s life.
Listening to someone telling a story is one thing. Putting it down on paper in an interesting and structured flow is another art altogether.
I was truly amazed by how Albom pieced together all the information and story told to him by Chick and presented them in a simple, straightforward manner that strikes at the reader’s heart.
Just like in Tuesdays With Morrie, there are plenty of little gems of life’s lessons that can be found from the writings of this book. Check out some of them here:
“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”
“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
“Sticking with your family is what makes it a family.”
“Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them.”
“In college, I had a course in Latin, and one day the word “divorce” came up. I always figured it came from some root that meant “divide.” In truth, it comes from “divertere,” which means “to divert.”
“It’s funny. I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes.
The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature,” he said. “You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.”
“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.”
“A child embarrassed by his mother,” she said, “is just a child who hasn’t lived long enough.”
Truly inspirational stuff!
Another thing I liked about Albom’s writing is how he manages to smoothly flash back and forth through Chick’s life as he reminisces about his childhood life to teen and eventually adult life. In between the pages, there are some ‘mini breaks’ or pauses where Albom inserts some original writings of Chick that enhances the mood of the story and adds more colour to Chick’s mother, how he treated her and vice versa throughout the years. Good stuff.
For a story that spans a lifetime filled with tears, joy and lessons, I was quite surprised it was actually a very short book! The pacing is very easy to follow and the story is expertly written with plenty of humour and dialogue that makes it very easy to understand and read.
Needless to say, I finished this book quite fast. Definitely high on the glue factor!
An entertaining, simple and truly inspirational story. What’s more, it’s based on true story…that is, if you believe in the ‘ghost’ bit. Haha.
Still, there are so many gems of lessons of life that can be gleaned from the contents makes this a definite must read. If you are a parent, you will definitely pick up some lessons on bringing up your children; and for children, this book will surely make you appreciate your parents more!