Tuesday, 29 April 2014

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

Dewey Read-a-thon Update: (Yes I know I'm giving my update two days later. lol) I read this book from 8:30 pm to 10 pm and 12:15 am to 3:50 am.

Book Description from Amazon
This is the story of Charley, a child of divorce who is always forced to choose between his mother and his father. He grows into a man and starts a family of his own. But one fateful weekend, he leaves his mother to secretly be with his father--and she dies while he is gone. This haunts him for years. It unravels his own young family. It leads him to depression and drunkenness. One night, he decides to take his life. But somewhere between this world and the next, he encounters his mother again, in their hometown, and gets to spend one last day with her--the day he missed and always wished he'd had. He asks the questions many of us yearn to ask, the questions we never ask while our parents are alive. By the end of this magical day, Charley discovers how little he really knew about his mother, the secret of how her love saved their family, and how deeply he wants the second chance to save his own.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my favorite books of all time. Just when I thought one guy could only have on vision of the afterlife, he comes up with For One More Day.

Charles "Chick" Benetto is grief stricken after his mother Pauline dies. Not only does he miss her but he also feels immense guilt for favoring his father for most of his life. It's not entirely Charles' fault. His father told him, "You can be a mama's boy or daddy's boy but you can't be both." He spent his whole life not understanding why his parents divorced, why his father disappeared, and why neither of the them are willing to talk about it.
He deals with his pain by drinking but after alcoholism destroys his life and his only daughter refuses to invite him to her wedding, he feels he has nothing live for. He decides to attempt suicide. However, you are told from the beginning of the story that he lived. So after jumping off a water tower to his death, you aren't sure if he's dreaming, in a coma, or just why he's seeing his dead mother.
Not only does he see her, it's as if she never died and is carrying on her daily life. Charles decides to accompany her throughout her day and he learns things about her that he never understood when he was younger. Throughout the story he also tells in flashbacks what happened when is parents divorced and how it has affected him his entire life.
Throughout the story you are given clues on just why his dead mother has appeared. Don't worry I won't be giving any spoilers here. The book is ultimately about self forgiveness and how as children (even adult children) we don't always understand our parents.
I only have one complaint about the book. Quotes like the following are throughout the book:

The character of Charles naively assumes that everyone has the same sort of relationship with their mother that he did. I found quotes like these to extremely triggering. I didn't grow up with my mother and have a rather difficult (but not unloving) relationship with her. I was raised by my grandparents so many of the quotes triggered that anger and sadness of not having a mother around growing up.

Still I found the book addressed the parent-child relationship in a unique way. I think it is especially a great read for anyone with father issues, who recently lost their mother, that is an alcoholic, or a recovering alcholic.

My rating Photobucket

I'm going to watch the movie and will have a review of the movie up soon.

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