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For One More Day

Mitch Albom, Author
Mitch Albom, Author . Hyperion $21.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0327-3
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In this first novel from Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven author Albom, grief-stricken Charles "Chick" Benetto goes into an alcoholic tailspin when his always-attentive mother, Pauline, dies. Framed as an "as told to" story, Chick quickly narrates her funeral; his drink-fueled loss of savings, job ("sales") and family; and his descent into loneliness and isolation. After a suicide attempt, Chick encounters Pauline's ghost. Together, the two revisit Pauline's travails raising her children alone after his father abandons them: she braves the town's disapproval of her divorce and works at a beauty parlor, taking an extra job to put money aside for the children's education. Pauline cringes at the heartache Chick inflicted as a demanding child, obnoxious teen and brusque, oblivious adult chasing the will-o'-the-wisp of a baseball career. Through their story, Albom foregrounds family sanctity, maternal self-sacrifice and the destructive power of personal ambition and male self-involvement. He wields pathos as if it were a Louisville Slugger—shoveling dirt into Pauline's grave, Chick hears her spirit cry out, " 'Oh, Charley. How could you?' "—but Albom often strikes a nerve on his way to the heart. (Sept. 26)

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