Title: One Amazing Thing
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Genre: Multicultural Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A group of people are an Indian passport and visa office in a city in the United States when there is an earthquake. Nine very different people are trapped inside the building. Unable to leave or get help, they must rely on one another for survival. Trying to pass the time, they each tell a story about themselves in order to reveal one amazing thing that has happened to them.
One Amazing Thing is a simple tale, a tribute to the different people that each of us are. There are nine characters in this book, nine stories to be told. Each is a unique story with it own lesson, but Divakaruni never hits the reader over the head with each moral. Instead, she subtly weaves them into her overall tale, conveying her messages beautifully and with grace.
This book deals with a lot of heavy issues, from racism to forced marriage (and many problems in between) but in a very deft way. Divakaruni never weighs down the story with tears or depression. Instead, each of these tales serves a healing purpose. Both the teller and the listeners are changed by the stories, softened and more understanding. It’s a real testament to the power of stories.
One Amazing Thing is a slip of a book and it would be a real ordeal for the reader to get to know each of these nine characters intimately. Instead, Divakaruni provides glimpses into each character’s life; the point isn’t to get to know these characters as much as it is to understand them and their motivations.
The best part about One Amazing Thing is each character’s story. They aren’t earth shatteringly dramatic stories. Instead, they’re simple tales, characteristic of real life. In that way, they’re very personal. I loved reading each of these stories because they revealed something very private about the storyteller.
One Amazing Thing was a very enjoyable novel that I definitely recommend. At its core is the humanity that each of us share, humanity that comes across through the story that each person tells. It’s a short novel and doesn’t take long to read, but it will leave you thinking long after the last pages are turned.