“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 our tables long after they have gone.”
From the opening lines of the 2006 fiction novel, “For One More Day,” it’s apparent this is another Mitch Albom story about life and death. The book tells the story of Charley “Chick” Benetto, a former baseball player who has his share of troubles. Eventually, Chick decides to kill himself and wants to visit the place where he grew up. But he’s in a terrible car accident on the way and as he flees to his childhood home, he ends up seeing his mother, who had died nearly a decade ago.
So Benetto gets a chance – one more day – with his mother, who ends up helping him resolve his issues and get back on the right track. Throughout the day, there are moments when Benetto can choose to die or choose to live as he hears voices come and go at the accident scene. It’s a story about redemption and the chance to start every day not knowing if it will be your last.
For those who have experienced the loss of a parent, this book is a sentimental way to realize you’re not alone. I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t want one more day with someone they’ve lost. And while Albom’s tale has a happy ending – Chick makes peace with his mother’s death and repairs his relationship with his estranged daughter it’s a cautionary tale that sometimes it is too late to make amends. You don’t always get one more day.
This book is very short (less than 200 pages) and a quick read, so I can understand why it was a New York Times best-seller that was adapted into a television movie in 2007 by Oprah. While it does seem a little too “It’s a Wonderful Life”-ish at times, it’s nonetheless a good reminder to live life by the Golden Rule. And spend time with your mother.