Format: Hardcover, 206pp
“This is a story about family and, as there is a ghost involved you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they have gone.” (For One More Day)
Chick Benetto is a man who tried to kill himself. This is the story about his attempted suicide and the one day it gave him with his deceased mother. Through the book we see bits of his childhood; Chick’s absentee father, nurse mother, and Roberta, his sister. We see his parents fighting over dinner, his father claiming that it just isn’t right. The father turns to him and asks him what he thinks of the food. Chick sides with his father because his father always says, “You can be a momma’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.”
When Chick’s mother dies of a massive heart attack his life crumbles. He feels as if suddenly he is alone, no one backing him, no one on his side. The family he has built, a wife and daughter, quickly falls apart with his drinking.
He leaves them, just like once upon a time his father left him, turning his life over to alcohol. One day he receives a letter from his daughter with pictures of her wedding. He suddenly realizes that he has been exactly what he never wanted to be. He gives up then and decides to kill himself. All he wants is to have someone on his side again; he wishes that he still had his mother, the one person who always believed in him.
Chick drives out to his home town, full of alcohol and memories of his past. We see through the mind's eye the house he grew up in, the school he went to, and the unhappy or happy memories attached to each. On the off ramp to his small town Chick causes a car accident, but he walks away from it. Walking the rest of the way to his home he passes the familiar, aching and hurting he climbs the water tower he once climbed as a teenager and throws himself off of it. At the bottom he opens his eyes and a little way in the distance he sees his long-dead mother, standing in a lavender dress waiting for him.
This book is only 197 pages long. From start to finish you are wrapped up in this family story: the small hardships, the not so small hardships, and the give and take that goes on in all families. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and in the end uplifting. You come away with a desire to pay closer attention to the world around you and what you have. Not to mention the desire to go and hug your mom, just in case.