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!