A moving story from the internationally bestselling author of Tuesdays With Morrie that will 'make you smile . . . make you wistful [and] . . . make you blink back tears of nostalgia' (James McBride)
As a child, Charley 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 him disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence.
Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been destroyed by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits rock bottom after discovering he won't be invited to his only daughter's wedding. And he decides to take his own life. Charley makes a midnight ride to his small hometown: his final journey. But as he staggers into his old house, he makes an astonishing discovery. His mother - who died eight years earlier - is there and welcomes Charley home as if nothing had ever happened.
What follows is the one seemingly 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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A real joy!
A truly compelling read. At first you warm to a man who clearly isn't having the best time in his life. But then you delve into his soul so beautifully crafted by Albom's incredible talent for fiction. I took the book on holiday and lost the first two days just sat by the pool reading because I couldn't put it down! Wonderful!