Albom, M. (2006). For one more day. New York: Hyperion.
Paperback $12.00, Hardcover $21.00, Kindle $8.99, 197 pages
Author’s Website and Interviews:
Annotation: For Chick Benetto, attempting suicide twice and failing had to be life’s ultimate slap in the face.
Summary: Chick Benetto feels like he has lost everything. He is divorced from his wife Catherine, estranged from his daughter Maria, and is a raging alcoholic. Struggling with the rejection by his daughter after not being invited to her wedding and reeling from the loss of his mother eight years prior, Chick believes his life has no purpose. After a bender one night at the local pub, Chick gets into his car intent on ending it all. He drives the wrong way down a freeway exit and collides with a truck, propelling his car down an embankment. To his own surprise and horror, he survives. He hesitates, wondering if the driver of the other car is ok, but instead of checking, he decides to walk back to his hometown and to the house he grew up in. Upon entering his old house, he discovers that his deceased mother is still living there and welcomes him home as if no time has passed. Together they embark on a journey of discovery and truths, as Chick begins to realize how his relationship with his mother shaped his life he sees that life might be worth living after all.
Evaluation: This book is compelling and examines the mother-son relationship in a very dynamic way. It is very thought provoking and makes the reader reexamine his or her own relationship with loved ones both deceased and living. Albom did a fabulous job with character development , as Chick Benetto is complex and layered. The writing is both haunting and poignant and presents real life questions and challenges in very real and very relatable ways.
Genre: Mainstream Fiction (Inspirational)
Appeal Factors: Moving, inspirational, character-driven, compelling, and nostalgic.
Read-alike Titles and Authors:
- Life’s Golden Ticket, by Brendon Burchard
- This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes
- Never Change, by Elizabeth Berg
Awards: #1 New York Times Best Seller, #1 USA Today Bestseller, and #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
- Immediately hook your reader/audience by reading the first sentence of the book “Let me guess. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.” For me, yes I wanted to know how and why because clearly the author survived to recount his story.
Book Discussion Questions:
- Why did Charley “Chick” Benetto attempt to kill himself not once but twice? What motivated him to finally take his life?
- Did you find his actions selfish or was he just a desperate man looking to end his pain?
- What role did his daughter Maria play in the story? Were you shocked by her revelation at the end of the book?
- Why did Chick’s dead mom return on the day he attempted suicide? Why were the sections of book titled “Times I Did Not Stand Up for My Mother” significant. What do they reveal about the Chick? About Chick’s mom?
- Do you feel that Chick found closure after spending time with his mother? Was there a specific moment that made you feel this way?
I am a big Mitch Albom fan and enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven and knew this most likely was a book I was going to enjoy. The title initially hooked me because I was curious what the “for one more day” referred to. I read the back of the book and was intrigued by the questions it asked the reader, “If you had the chance, just one chance, to go back and fix what you did wrong in life, would you take it?” I think these are questions we have all asked ourselves and I instantly connected with the book.