One Amazing Thing By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Title:  One Amazing Thing
Author:  Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Release date:  February 2, 2010
Publisher:  Voice
Pages:  240
Genre:  Adult fiction
Source:  Library

In the Indian consulate of an unnamed United States city, nine strangers are trapped after an earthquake hits.  Though these nine are about as different from each other as can be, they must work together to survive the aftermath of the quake.  As their food and oxygen runs low, one woman has the idea that they each share one amazing thing from their lives as a distraction from the danger that they are facing.

I’m going to start out by admitting that One Amazing Thing disappointed me.  I wish I didn’t have to say that, but I am a pretty honest person and there were way too many things about this story that bothered me.  I’m going to start with what I did like about it, though, and then move along to what disappointed me about it.

What I did love about One Amazing Thing was Divakaruni’s writing and the way she made these nine characters come together over the course of the novel.  She really helped me see each of them as individuals, even though they told such short stories (nine stories in 200 pages meant that they were pretty short!), I felt as though I got to know each of the characters.  And she made them come to life beautifully, with the help of her beautiful writing and gift for telling stories, each of these people came alive for me and I simply wanted more from each of them.

The major disappointment I had with this novel is that there just wasn’t enough.  I was expecting some sort of “ah-ha” moment when some of the characters’ lives intersected, or they made unexpected connections, or maybe a small love interest blossomed.  Something.  I didn’t get any of that, and I just felt that the book would have been a lot more with a little more cohesiveness between the characters.  And it didn’t make sense to me how they sort of just sat and waited to be rescued instead of trying to figure out a way to escape.  Of these nine people, you would expect that at least one of them would be proactive in trying to find a way out.  And last, the ending was completely anti-climactic and did not work for me at all.

While One Amazing Thing was not my favorite read, I did enjoy aspects of this book and would absolutely be willing to read something else written by Divakaruni.  This novel had tons of promise, but unfortunately for me it just didn’t live up to what I was hoping for.  If you’re looking for a quick read with compelling characters, however, this may just be the book for you.  So don’t take my word for it – read it for yourself and see!

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20 thoughts on “One Amazing Thing By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  1. Great review, Heather – I completely agree. I felt the same way you did – original story, great characters, interesting concept…but no connection and the ending was let so up in the air I had no closure to the story. I am eager to read more by this author, however, because I loved her way of stringing words together…this one just didn’t work for me.

  2. I’ve seen several reviews lately that had more or less the same response to this book as you did. Shame really, the premise sounded wonderful, and I was hoping the book would be too. :/

  3. This is a great review! I think that was what I was worried about.. that it would be interesting to hear all their stories but there wouldn’t be anything big about it or where their stories didn’t cross or anything. This reminds me of the book by Angela Hunt, The Elevator, which is christian fiction.. in that one they are all trapped in an elevator and it was sort of the same.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I don’t know too many others’ opinions of the novel, but I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with this particular opinion.

  4. I really enjoyed your review and have really relied on your honesty in your reviews for helping decide whether or not I should devote my time to that particular book. Even though I love the cover and the premise I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up anytime soon.

  5. You’re not the first person I’ve heard say the same thing about wanting more from this book. A friend loaned it to me so I’ll probably read it anyway, though.

  6. This sounds like one of those “affirming moments” type novels. I’m sorry to say that if I were trapped somewhere after an earthquake, I would probably be LESS interested in stories or story-telling than at any other point in my life. I’d be shouting “Dig, people! Dig!” That said, I’m happy to hear she writes well. So often, the opposite seems to be the case. I’ll keep an eye out for her next title.

  7. i appreciate when book bloggers give honest reviews. sometimes i feel like either i’m the only person reading less-than amazing novels, or i’m just too harsh in my judgment. you have validated me! 🙂

    sorry this one was less than amazing. if the author can write well maybe her next effort will be better.

  8. This may not be her best book but she has written some great ones. Mistress of Spices was my favorite but I also liked Sister of My Heart and Queen of Dreams although it started out slow. She is an incredible writer. Her characters are unique.

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