A Story of Guilt and Redemption
‘Let me guess. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.’ These are the first words of Chick Benetto in Mitch Albom’s new book, ‘For One More Day.’ Told from Chick’s point of view, this is a story of the relationship between a son and his mother and how regret and guilt last a lifetime.
Chick is a sports reporter who was once a professional baseball player. When he is young, his dad tells him that he can either be a ‘mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy’ but he can’t be both. Chick chooses to stick around his father, hoping to someday make him proud. However, his father leaves the family when Chick is barely a teen and he is left struggling to build a relationship with his mother.
Many years later, Chick’s life is a disaster. An alcoholic who has lost his job and left behind his family, he falls further and further into depression and regret. When he finds out that his own daughter didn’t even invite him to her wedding, he gives up and tries to kill himself.
But he even fails at this. In a mental state somewhere between life and death, Chick finds his way back to his childhood home where he comes face to face with his mother who died many years earlier. Acting like nothing happened, his mother spends the whole day with him.
In flashbacks of his childhood and his day with his mother, the reader learns of his biggest regrets in life, like ‘Times My Mother Stood Up for Me’ and ‘Times I Did Not Stand Up for My Mother.’ In his day with his mother, he learns things about her and moves to make peace with his loss and his disappointing life.
Albom’s book is like his other books. Short, easy to read and inspirational, it is full of life lessons about redemption, guilt and love. Though overly sentimental at times, Albom manages to keep the reader engaged throughout the story. Those who have read his previous books like ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ will find similar characters, an identical supernatural setting and the same underlying meaning of making peace with losing a loved one.