For One More Day by Mitch Albom
Published 2007 by Sphere
My copy: Secondhand copy
As a child, Charley 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 him disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence. Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been destroyed by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits rock bottom after discovering he won’t be invited to his only daughter’s wedding. And he decides to take his own life. Charley makes a midnight ride to his small hometown: his final journey. But as he staggers into his old house, he makes an astonishing discovery. His mother – who died eight years earlier – is there, and welcomes Charley home as if nothing had ever happened. What follows is the one seemingly 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.
I have read and enjoyed several of Albom’s novels – although I wasn’t taken with perhaps his most famous Tuesdays with Morrie. But I loved Five People You Meet in Heaven, and The Time Keeper.
At the start of the novel, our narrator comes across Chick, an ex-baseball player. They get to talking and the narrator finds out about his life. We are then told the whole story from Chick’s point of view, as we hear how he was at his lowest ebb when the truly unexpected happened…
This is a lovely and touching book, and what really makes it for me is that it is so cleverly written. It isn’t highly stylised or wordy, it doesn’t try to be clever, it just tells you a really good story in a very readable and relatable way. I read this book in just a few hours, so you could call it a novella really – and although it’s very sad it does make you think, which I feel is often the point of Albom’s novels.
Despite the simplicity of the story, there are a few small and clever twists at the end, which served to wrap the novel up perfectly.
I really liked this novel, and if you want a very quick and moving read, then I recommend this.
My rating: 9 out of 10