Summary of "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom

by Shelby Winchell

MItch Albom's philosophical novel "For One More Day" deals with life, death, and somewhere in between. The story is about a troubled man and his relationship with his mother. Charley "Chick" Benetto, a former baseball player, struggles with regret and remorse regarding his mother's death. This is a story about death, hope and a mother's love

Description (Spoiler)

At a very young age, Benetto is forced to decide which parent he favors. His father hands him an ultimatum, "You can be a momma's boy or a daddy's boy, but you can't be both." He picks his father, only to have him walk out of the boy's life. Later, living with his mother, Benetto goes to see his father. While he's gone, his mother dies of a heart attack. He regrets that he wasn't there on her final day. After she dies he feels alone, convinced that his mother was the only person who believed in him. Years later he heads to his hometown, drunk and ready to commit suicide. But he encounters his mother's spirit in their childhood home.

Characters

Benetto experiences many hardships in his life. The book starts with him as a young boy living with his mother, father, and sister Roberta. Over the course of the book, the reader learns about the struggles that plague him: his parents fighting; his father leaving the family and becoming an absentee parent, leading to his parent's divorce; his mother's unexpected death, alcoholism, job loss, a broken family of his own, and regret.

Parallels

Benetto does the same thing to his own wife and daughter that his father did to him. He doesn't realize this until his daughter is getting married and doesn't invite him to the wedding. She sends him a letter with a picture from the wedding. That's when he realizes he's turned into the father he never wanted to be.

Plot (Spoiler)

Even though his mother died eight years earlier, Benetto gets to spend one more day with her, somewhere between life and death, in this novel. Mortality is the theme, as "For One More Day" explores how someone might act if given the chance to be with a deceased relative for one more day. Benetto's mother helps him resolve his own issues of remorse and regret and to get his life back on track.