October 29, 2006
Mitch Albom's "For One More Day"
'Father-bashing over two generations', pretty much sums up Mitch Albom's most recent tear-jerker "For One More Day".
One of those 'let-me-be-your-counsellor' kind of novel, "For One More Day" starts off really well where Charley the main protagonist decides he wants an out of his lack-lustre life where he's failed as a son, as a husband, and as a father. However, he's unable to do even that; his suicide attempt fails! What happens next is an out-of-the-world experience where a comatose Charley establishes communication with his long dead mother; a mother he 'didn't ever stand up for'. From this point on the novel is all downhill. A set of contrived situations to showcase the sheer selflessness of motherhood against an apathetic father figure telling a young Charley "You can be a mama's boy or a daddy's boy, but you can't be both."
It took me a long time to figure out my response to the novel; primarily due to a sense of guilt for not liking what Albom presented; perhaps because at some level it did pertain to me, and to Everyman. All of us have some cleansing to do; to rid ourselves of those ghosts from our past that seem to haunt us; and here was this novel doing just that, and yet I could not readily say that I liked it. The cloying sentimentality and the not-so-surreal situations made it distant, and I could not lose myself in it; I could not suspend my disbelief.
If "Tuesdays with Morrie" is what made you pick up this novel, you are bound to be disappointed.