Recap: Well, Mitch Albom did it again. The author best known for Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven writes yet another philosophical, fantastical novel about death. For One More Day follows the story of Charley “Chick” Benetto, who tries to kill himself by driving his car drunk into the path of an oncoming truck.
The accident seriously injures Chick, and he enters limbo between Heaven and Earth. That’s where Chick comes into contact with his dead mother. He spends one more day with her, reflecting on his childhood, learning about his father who left them, and even more about his mother and himself.
The story leaves us wondering a number of things. Is Chick seeing a ghost? Is this really happening? And is he going to die or live?
Analysis: In For One More Day, Mitch Albom does what he does best. He writes from the heart, telling a story that one could only wish, hope, and dream to be true. He gives this character – or real person as we’re told – the ability to spend one more day with his mother, after she’s been gone for so many years. Though I’m lucky enough to still have my mother, I know that if she were to pass, I could only dream of seeing her again.
What Albom does – and does well – is tell the reader some things matter-of-factly, whereas other plot points are blurred. For instance, he makes it clear that Chick Benetto is a real man he met one day, and that this is Benetto’s version of events. But the ghostly relationship that develops leaves us to wonder how much of this could be true. Albom develops this uncertainty on purpose.
He urges us to question so many things about what’s real and what’s not. In the end, he leaves it up to the reader to decide because ultimately, the reality of the plot isn’t the point of the story. The love between a mother and her son is the true story here. And I dare you to read this book and not feel that love or shed a tear by the end.
MVP: Pauline “Posey” Benetto, Charley’s mother. Real or not, she seems perfect and flawed in a motherly kind of way. Like any mother, she has her secrets, which are not revealed until much later. But she’s loving, caring, and would do anything for her children, despite their disinterest or unwillingness to appreciate her. She is proof that a mother’s love never dies.