For One More Day Summary and Study Guide

Mitch Albom

For One More Day

  • 54-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 30 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree from Harvard
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For One More Day Summary and Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 54-page guide for “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 30 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Fathers and Fatherhood and Ghosts Becoming Real.

Plot Summary

For One More Day, by Mitch Albom, tells the story of Charles “Chick” Benetto, a retired baseball player fallen on hard times. The story is framed by a prologue and epilogue where a narrator explains that they are telling the story from Chick’s perspective, “because I’m not sure you would believe this story if you didn’t hear it in his voice” (7). The book is comprised of short chapters told in the first person, and Chick’s distinctive voice drives the narrative’s emotional arc. They tell two parallel stories: one, told over the course of one day, in the present, while the other recounts the memories of Chick’s life leading up to his mother’s death. Nearly every chapter ends with a short episode from Chick’s past, or a note from his mother that he saved.

After Chick’s baseball career ends, he struggles to find work, and his marriage collapses. He loses contact with his family, and his alcoholism worsens. When he receives a letter from his daughter Maria telling him that she’s married, he realizes he no longer has a relationship with his family and decides to end his life. He drives to his hometown, causes an accident after missing the correct exit, then walks to the town water tower and throws himself off. When he wakes up, he finds himself on the baseball field where he played as a child. In front of him stands his mother, who has been dead for ten years.

From this point, Chick tells the story of his life through the recounting of a single day spent with his mother, with Chick trying to make up for lost time. As they visit the houses of homebound women for whom Chick’s mother serves as a hairdresser, makeup artist, and confidante, Chick revisits both his childhood and recent past.

He tells the story of his parents’ marriage; his distant and secretive father, who pushed him toward a career in baseball; and his beautiful, ebullient mother, who encouraged his academic success. His father left the family when Chick was in the 5th grade, and though he became closer with his mother, he continued to hope for his father’s return. Chick remembers ruefully how ashamed he was of his mother as an adolescent and young adult, and learns of the sacrifices she made for him. In the process, he gains a new appreciation of both her and himself.

As the day comes to an end, they make one last visit, this time to an older woman crying in her bedroom. Chick’s mother explains that this is his father’s other wife, who he met, married, and had a child with during the Second World War, while he was stationed in Italy. Chick is crushed to find out that, when Chick was born, his father had already had a son with this woman. He now understands now the depth of his mother’s love, and he begins to forgive himself for his own past. When the day ends, Chick wakes up in the field where he fell, where police officers have been trying to revive him.

Chick explains to the narrator that he feels lucky that he escaped from the experience without causing harm to others, and the narrator explains that, in the five years between his near-death experience and his death from a stroke at 58, Chick has repaired his relationships with his family and found fulfilling work coaching children’s sports. Finally, the narrator reveals that she is Maria, Chick’s once-estranged daughter.

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