"Every family is a ghost story . . ."
Mitch Albom mesmerized readers around the world with his number one New York Times bestsellers, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie. Now he returns with a beautiful, haunting novel about the family we love and the chances we miss.
For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?
As a child, Charley "Chick" Benetto was told by his father, "You can be a mama's boy or a daddy's boy, but you can't be both." So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence.
Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life.
He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His motherwho died eight years earlieris still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened.
What follows is the one "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. Somewhere between this life and the next, Charley learns the astonishing things he never knew about his mother and her sacrifices. And he tries, with her tender guidance, to put the crumbled pieces of his life back together.
Through Albom's inspiring characters and masterful storytelling, readers will newly appreciate those whom they loveand may have thought they'd lostin their own lives. For One More Day is a book for anyone in a family, and will be cherished by Albom's millions of fans worldwide.
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|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Date of Birth:May 23, 1958
Place of Birth:Passaic, New Jersey
Education:B.A., Brandeis University, 1979; M.J., Columbia University, 1981; M.B.A., Columbia University, 1982
Read an Excerpt
FOR ONE MORE DAY
By Mitch Albom
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
Now, when I say I saw my dead mother, I mean just that. I saw her. She was
standing by the dugout, wearing a lavender jacket, holding her pocketbook. She
didn't say a word. She just looked at me.
I tried to lift myself in her direction then fell back, a bolt of pain
shooting through my muscles. My brain wanted to shout her name, but there was no
sound from my throat.
I lowered my head and put my palms together. I pushed hard again, and this
time I lifted myself halfway off the ground. I looked up.
She was gone.
I don't expect you to go with me here. It's crazy, I know. You don't see dead
people. You don't get visits. You don't fall off of a water tower, miraculously
alive despite your best attempt to kill yourself, and see your dearly departed
mother holding her pocketbook on the third-base line.
I have given it all the thought that you are probably giving it right now; a
hallucination, a fantasy, a drunken dream, the mixed-up brain on its mixed-up
way. As I say, I don't expect you to go with me here.
But this is what happened. She had been there. I had seen her. I lay on the
field for an indeterminate amount of time, then I rose to my feet and I got
myself walking. I brushed the sand and debris from my knees and forearms. I was
bleeding from dozens of cuts, most of them small, a fewbigger. I could taste
blood in my mouth.
I cut across a familiar patch of grass. A morning wind shook the trees and
brought a sweep of yellow leaves, like a small, fluttering rainstorm. I had
twice failed to kill myself. How pathetic was that?
I headed toward my old house, determined to finish the job......
* * *
My father once told me, "You can be a mama's boy or a daddy's boy. But you can't
So I was a daddy's boy. I mimicked his walk. I mimicked his deep, smoky
laugh. I carried a baseball glove because he loved baseball, and I took every
hardball he threw, even the ones that stung my hands so badly I thought I would
When school was out, I would run to his liquor store on Kraft Avenue and stay
until dinnertime, playing with empty boxes in the storeroom, waiting for him to
finish. We would ride home together in his sky blue Buick sedan, and sometimes
we would sit in the driveway as he smoked his Chesterfields and listened to the
I have a younger sister named Roberta, and back then she wore pink ballerina
slippers almost everywhere. When we ate at the local diner, my mother would yank
her to the "ladies'" room-her pink feet sliding across the tile-while my
father took me to the "gents'." In my young mind I figured this was life's
assignment: me with him, her with her. Ladies'. Gents'. Mama's. Daddy's.
A daddy's boy.
I was a daddy's boy, and I remained a daddy's boy right up to a hot,
cloudless Saturday morning in the spring of my fifth grade year. We had a
doubleheader scheduled that day against the Cardinals, who wore red wool
uniforms and were sponsored by Connor's Plumbing Supply.
The sun was already warming the kitchen when I entered in my long socks,
carrying my glove, and saw my mother at the table smoking a cigarette. My mother
was a beautiful woman, but she didn't look beautiful that morning. She bit her
lip and looked away from me. I remember the smell of burnt toast and I thought
she was upset because she messed up breakfast.
"I'll eat cereal," I said.
I took a bowl from the cupboard.
She cleared her throat. "What time is your game, honey?"
"Do you have a cold?" I asked.
She shook her head and put a hand to her cheek. "What time is your game?"
"I dunno." I shrugged. This was before I wore a watch.
I got the glass bottle of milk and the big box of corn puffs. I poured the
corn puffs too fast and some bounced out of the bowl and onto the table. My
mother picked them up, one at a time, and put them in her palm.
"I'll take you," she whispered. "Whenever it is."
"Why can't Daddy take me?" I asked.
"Daddy's not here."
"Where is he?"
She didn't answer.
"When's he coming back?"
She squeezed the corn puffs and they crumbled into floury dust.
I was a mama's boy from that day on.......
* * *
The house was musty, and there was a faint, sweet smell of carpet cleaner,
as if someone (the caretaker we paid?) had recently shampooed it. I stepped past
the hallway closet and the banister we used to slide down as kids. I entered the
kitchen, with its old tile floor and its cherrywood cabinets. I opened the
refrigerator because I was looking for something alcoholic; by now this was a
reflex with me.
And I stepped back.
There was food inside.
Tupperware. Leftover lasagna. Skim milk. Apple juice. Raspberry yogurt. For a
fleeting moment, I wondered if someone had moved in, a squatter of some kind,
and this was now his place, the price we paid for ignoring it for so long.
I opened a cabinet. There was Lipton tea and a bottle of Sanka. I opened
another cabinet. Sugar. Morton salt. Paprika. Oregano. I saw a dish in the sink,
soaking under bubbles. I lifted it and slowly lowered it, as if trying to put it
back in place.
And then I heard something.
It came from upstairs.
It was my mother's voice.
I ran out the kitchen door, my fingers wet with soapy water..........
* * *
What I remember most, hiding on that back porch, is how fast my breath left
me. One second I had been at the refrigerator, dragging through the motions, the
next second my heart was racing so fast I thought no amount of oxygen could
sustain it. I was shaking. The kitchen window was at my back, but I didn't dare
look through it. I had seen my dead mother, and now I had heard her voice. I had
broken parts of my body before, but this was the first time I worried I had
damaged my mind.
I stood there, my lungs heaving in and out, my eyes locked on the earth in
front of me. As kids, we'd called this our "backyard," but it was just a square
of grass. I thought about bounding across it to a neighbor's house.
And then the door opened.
And my mother stepped outside.
Right there. On that porch.
And she turned to me.
And she said, "What are you doing out here? It's cold."
NOW, I DON'T know if I can explain the leap I made. It's like jumping off the
planet. There is everything you know and there is everything that happens. When
the two do not line up, you make a choice. I saw my mother, alive, in front of
me. I heard her say my name again. "Charley?" She was the only one who ever
called me that.
Was I hallucinating? Should I move toward her? Was she like a bubble that
would burst? Honestly, at this point, my limbs seemed to belong to someone else.
"Charley? What's the matter? You're all cut."
She was wearing blue slacks and a white sweater now-she was always dressed,
it seemed, no matter how early in the morning-and she looked to be no older
than the last time I had seen her, on her seventy-ninth birthday, wearing these
red-rimmed glasses she got as a present. She turned her palms gently upward and
she beckoned me with her eyes and, I don't know, those glasses, her skin, her
hair, her opening the back door the way she used to when I threw tennis balls
off the roof of our house. Something melted inside of me, as if her face gave
off heat. It went down my back. It went to my ankles. And then something broke,
I almost heard the snap, the barrier between belief and disbelief.
I gave in.
Off the planet.
"Charley?" she said. "What's wrong?"
I did what you would have done.
I hugged my mother as if I'd never let her go.
Excerpted from FOR ONE MORE DAY
by Mitch Albom
Copyright © 2006 by Mitch Albom.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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