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In 'For One More Day' Charley Benetto comes to the lowest point of his life. His career is in tatters, his family life broken and his finances spiralling out of control. Feeling as though things could not possibly get worse he gets drunk and then attempts to take his own life. Returning to his home town his suicide attempt fails and he makes his way back to his childhood home, only to meet his mother who had died eight years previous. Mitch Albom explores the potential of meeting with a lost loved one for one last time, and being able to resolve all of the unanswered questions you had in life.
I have been dissapointed in every Mitch Albom book I have read with the exception of 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven'. I was not terribly let down by what looked like a promising read in 'For One More Day' but I am pretty sure I missed the point of it. 'For One More Day' is supposed to be an exploration of ideas of mortality and the notion that if you could have one more day with a lost loved one you could air all of your unanswered questions and finally gain resolution. But actually I found I identified far more with the way in which divorce is portrayed. The main character witnesses his parents unhappy marriage and its subsequent ugly breakdown. I myself remember my parents divorce when I was three and it was not pretty and remains not pretty twenty years later. The way in which Benetto deals with the divorce of his parents and his relationship with both of them after it was certainly familiar to me, if I could identify so strongly with it I'm sure anyone who has seen their parents go through a messy divorce or break up would find this insightful.
The actual story I found dissapointing. It didn't seem like any of the resolutions were actual resolutions. The twists in his mother's story were not particularly mindblowing and Charley didn't appear to learn a huge deal from the experience. Instead it felt like it was all just supporting what he already knew about life and relationships. Although he learns a great deal about his family and the actions of his parents I don't think he actually needed to be confronted with his dead mother to learn what he did. It seems he could have just had a good long think about his relationships and his destructive behaviour to come to the same kind of revelations.
In my opinion the final points of the novel actually spoiled it, it felt a little out of place and didn't sit right. The narrator's relationship to the protagonist, when revealed, seems tacked on to give the story a final punch that at this point it really didn't need. Further, revealing that the characters are based on who they are seemed overtly cliched in an attempt to gain a final emotive response.
Don't get me wrong though, I would still recommend this book, though I think someone who can identify with a messy divorce might get something more out of it, as the actual story didn't seem that fantastic.
For One More Day, by Mitch Albom, is a unique and beautiful novel that will stay with you for long after reading it. It is almost painfully sad at some points, but it is also uplifting and gives belief in the possibility of redemption for people who have created a mess of their lives, and see no way forward.
Charley is a man who has given up on his life. He has become an alcoholic and driven away his wife and daughter through his bad behaviour, which has been caused by regret over his too-short baseball career, his poor treatment of his mother, and never fully earning his father's approval. When news of his daughter's wedding, to which he has not been invited, reaches him, it is the tipping point. He sets off to kill himself, and rather than succeeding, he somehow ends up in his mother's old house. His mother died some years ago, but when he goes in the house, she is there. After initially disbelieving, he decides to go along with it and spend one more day with his mother.
The story moves back and forth between telling the story of Charley's life, from his earliest childhood through to the time when his adult life falls apart, and telling the story of his last day with his mother. Throughout this day with her, he learns things about her life he never knew, and is able to face what he has done in the past to make his life what it now is.
Throughout the book, the writing is fluid and engaging, and I was drawn into Charley's life. I constantly wondered just what happened to him to make him so self-destructive, what he blamed himself for so desperately. I looked forward to each new section revealing more about his childhood, and I also feel that the bits from Charley's belongings, such as the list of times his mother stood up for him, and the little notes she would write to him, really added to the story. Between the tales of his childhood and these extra elements, a picture of what has made Charley so regretful emerges.
What really works about the stories from Charley's childhood, is that I think they are typical of the small cruelties that children often unthinkingly commit against their parents, and other family members commit against each other. I think anyone that has lost someone can look back and find regrets, and moments when they wish they had treated the person differently and appreciated them more. This is the best part of this novel, I believe it truly represents something that so many people wish for, a day in which they could put everything right and say the things they never had a chance to say.
The twist at the end, which I won't explain, was a bit cheesy but nevertheless unexpected. Also, when I reached the end of the book, my emotional state was such that the ending didn't even feel as contrived as it perhaps should have. Instead it was uplifting.
I found this book to be enjoyable to read, while being heartbreaking at the same time. The way that Albom writes is very often so easy to read, and he has truly lovely ways of saying things. Between his great writing, and the moving story, I thought this book was truly fantastic and I am looking forward to reading another novel by him. Obviously this book is not 100% realistic, but if you can suspend disbelief in order to let yourself really get into this book, I feel that it will reward you.
Mitch Albom's books always sound so enticing and from the moment I read the blurb on the back cover I just know I have to purchase it. The last Albom book I read The Five People You Meet In Heaven was exactly like this but left me feeling a little disappointed after I had read it and unfortunately 'For One More Day' also left me feeling the same.
The book's blurb draws you into a world you think you are going to left and entices you to read a book you think you'll never want to put down but for me this just wasn't how my reading of the book left me feeling. The blurb's short snappy sentences and intriguing plotline premise seem in my opinion to be written much better than the rest of the book actually is and although the story itself isn't car-crash material it isn't exactly price-winning either in my opinion.
I think that the best way for me to go on and review the book is for me to put the blurb of the book in front of you so that you can see exactly what I saw and what made me want to read the book so much.
"Charley Benetto is a broken man, his life destroyed by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaved 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 takes 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 followed 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."
From the words written on the back of the book and reproduced for you above I was expecting an astonishing atmospheric tale with exceptional emotion, tragic trauma and lasting love. What I proceeded to read however gave me none of this. I must admit that the book begins well and the first three pages take the form of a letter written by the unknown author. This letter is like the blurb intriguing and enticing in almost every sense but as the actual story that the letter is explaining it will tell begins all of the build-up and promised magic dissolved into nothing and the iceberg of a story rapidly becomes nothing more than a pile of slush.
The story itself should have been an absolute groundbreaker on all levels. Family secrets should have intertwined seamlessly with flooding memories of the past, glorious predictions for the future and revelations that would shock anyone's world. This however is simply not what Albom gives us and the resulting novel therefore is somewhat flat in my opinion.
Nothing particular shocking occurs, apart from the mother being in the house but the blurb told us that. The revealed family secrets culminate to nothing special at all and in many respects the day Charley spends with his mother is one of confusion, which I know is expected but traverses too deeply in my opinion, and a mish-mash of events that do little to aid any real story progression.
Ultimately as the novel comes to a close I found I hard learnt very little about anything and was completely unimpressed by the revelations, which to me don't seem like revelations at all. The ending itself is even more confusing as it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the novel and the revealed author doesn't seem to resonate within the text that has preceded it. For me this was the biggest fault because I just couldn't comprehend why the author Mitch Albom reveals would write the story that is written in the way it is written - but maybe that is just me.
I know a lot of people will probably disagree with me about this book and I know that it received some rave reviews from many but I just don't rate it. It's exceptionally easy to read I admit and you tend to read it in a short period of time because you keep expecting more to happen that ever does.
My final comment on this book is simply to say that you shouldn't be fooled by the book's blurb or the quoted reviews on the back. The blurb leaves you expecting to read an intriguing story and the reviews one of which says the following: 'It will resonate with anyone who has suffered a bereavement only to realise how much of the life of a loved one was unknown and how many secrets went unshared' leave you predicting an emotional and empathetic story. The book itself actual provides you with neither of these and therefore falls extremely far off the mark it has set for itself and leaves the reader tremendously disappointed.
"For One More Day" is a story about a man who has lost everything in his life. His job and also his family. One night he decided to commit suicide by crashing his car and somehow he was brought to his hometown and see his late mother alive again and do what she usually did when she was alive and acted like nothing has happened. Charley, the name of this guy, remembered what he had done to his mother.
I really like this book. It remind me of my mother and how I love her so much. I think it was what Mitch Albom wanted to show to us, about how we should be thankful of what we already had in our life.
Another thing I love about this book is how Mitch Albom tells us something without actually lecturing us of what we should have done. The trademark of Mitch Albom, the forward and backward storyline with flashback memories is still here in this story.
"For One More Day" is indeed a very good book to be read by lots of people for learning about the meaning of family value. I recommend this book because I believe many people would love this one just like how people like "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
This is the story of a man named Charley who loses his job, leaves his family, and decides, one night, to end his life. Somewhere between this world and the next, he encounters his mother, who died years ago, and he spends one last day with her - a day he never had on earth. This 'ordinary' day covers the whole of their existence, and reveals how Charley, like many children, was constantly forced to choose between his mother and his father. He gets the chance many of us yearn for - to ask the questions never asked while our parents are alive. In the end, Charley learns how little he really knew about his mother, how her love saved their family, and how deeply he wants the chance to save his own.