The following list of questions, and critical praise about this book are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this novel. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach this book. Below, you will also find a reading group video guide in which Mitch answers your questions.
About this Book
The #1 bestselling author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven returns with an uplifting new novel about family, regret, secrets, and redemption.
Charley “Chick” Benetto has reached the end of his rope. Raised by his absent father to play baseball, Chick made it to the big time -- the World Series -- but injury cut his major league career tragically short. Since then it’s been all downhill, and the slide became a plummet when he lied to his mother and his own family to get one last shot at glory, with disastrous results. Suicide comes to seem like his best choice, so Chick returns to his childhood home to put an end to his unhappiness. But what he finds there changes everything . . .
For anybody who’s ever wanted one more day with a departed loved one, for anyone who’s attained a dream only to feel disappointment afterwards, for anyone who believes in the incredible power of a mother’s love, For One More Day will bring satisfaction, joy, and undeniable insight.
1. In the first paragraph of the novel, and repeated several times throughout the book, is the line “every family is a ghost story.” What do you think that means? Who is the real ghost in the Benetto family?
2. Which scene resonated with you the most, and why?
3. Re-read the “Beginning” section. Now that you know the identity of the narrator, how does your understanding of the section change? Did the narrator’s identity surprise you? Why, or why not?
4. Discuss the last paragraph of the “Beginning” section: “Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go through your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back. What if you got it back?” What did you imagine this meant when you first read it? What does it mean to you now? Is there someone in your own life with whom you’d like to spend one more day?
5. Why do you think Chick tried to commit suicide? Was it for the reasons he stated, or was there something else behind it?
6. On page 4, Chick says “Mothers support certain illusions about their children.” What did he mean by that statement? What about fathers?
7. Consider the passage on page 6 in which Chick talks about missing his daughter’s wedding. Given the identity of the book’s narrator, what do you think is happening here? Is it manipulation, guilt, hubris, or something else entirely?
8. Several times in the novel, Chick says that you can either be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but not both. Which was Chick? Which did he believe himself to be? Do you agree that you can only be one or the other?
9. On page 33, Chick says, “kids chase the love that eludes them.” How does this play out over the course of the novel? Whose love does he chase, ultimately, and why?
10. Chick believes strongly in the power of words: “divorcee” (page 67), “Mom” (page 157), “She died” (page 172). What makes these words so powerful? Is it the context of the story, or are they freighted in real life, too?
11. Throughout the novel, Chick outlines various times when he failed to stand up for his mother, and was often quite cold to her. Is there a special cruelty that children inflict on their parents? Is Chick cruel to other characters?
12. Novels about mother-son relationships are relatively rare. Can you think of any others you’ve read and enjoyed? How did their portrayals compare to For One More Day?
13. On page 142, a mountain climber tells Chick that descending is much more difficult than ascending: “The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature. You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.” Do you agree with this statement? Where were Chick’s ascents and descents? How did he deal with them?
14. Discuss the significance of the Old Timers’ Game -- its timing, Chick’s deception, his father’s involvement. How is it a turning point?
15. Chick learns a shocking secret about his father’s life on page 179. How does it change his understanding of his parents’ relationship? How does it change your understanding of Posey, Leonard, and Chick as characters?
16. Consider the other characters’ secrets: Chick’s lies about the Old Timers’ Game, Posey’s hiding her work as a housecleaner. What motivated them? Are some lies more damaging than others?
17. On page 185, Chick says, “I ran away. In that manner, I suppose, my father and I were sadly parallel.” Were they similar in other ways? Did Chick take after his father more than his mother?
18. Have you read any of Mitch Albom’s other books? What thematic links do you see?
19. Does this story have a moral? If so, what is it?
For One More Day Video Reading Group Guide
FOMD: Question 1
1. The line "every family is a ghost story" recurs several times in the novel. What does that mean and who are the real ghosts in the Benetto family?