June 22, 2010

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Imagine you are just sitting in an Indian visa and passport office in America waiting to be called, perhaps in order to go on vacation or perhaps to go home, when a major earthquake suddenly hits. The building crashes down around you. And you're trapped. With eight strangers.

The phones are dead and no one can get a signal on their cell phone. You have a broken arm and others are injured and panicking. There is little water or food. There is hardly any space to be because the building fell completely on one side of the room. You can't move much or make much noise and there is no way out and no way to communicate to the outside that you are there.

I don't know about you, but I would be OFFICIALLY FREAKED OUT. I am terrified of being trapped. That is my one phobia, stemming, I believe, from being trapped in a closet while playing hide and seek one time when I was younger and not being able to get out for what seemed like hours, but I am sure was a total of 5-10 minutes. But, yeah, I would be having a panic attack and trying not to think about the fact that the air would be running out...

Not only that but they soon discover there is water slowly coming in from a cracked pipe somewhere and there is now the possibility of drowning along with the fact you're trapped and the air is running out. Sound like a nightmare you might have? Anyone?

But one man, Cameron, an ex-soldier, takes the leader role and helps keep everyone safe as possible. much to the chagrin of Tariq. And one woman, Uma, decides that the best remedy that she can give these terrified people is distraction. Uma encourages everyone to tell a story about one amazing thing that has happened in their life. As each person in turn tells their story, the closer I grew to each character and I didn't want anything to happen to any of them in this life-or-death scenario.

One Amazing Thing is a story about finding yourself, about interactions with people very different from yourself, about racism and hatred and mental illness and secrets and redemption and hope. I think Divakaruni wrote a beautiful story. The writing was choppy at times, but this may have been corrected in the final version of the book.

If you want to read more about Chitra Divakaruni, visit her website.

RATING: 4 Stars
FOR CHALLENGES: New Authors Challenge, Countdown Challenge, 100+ in 2010, A to Z Titles Challenge
GENRE: Fiction
PUBLISHER: Hyperion Books
FORMAT/PAGES: Paperback ARC/220
HEY, FCC!: I got this book for review and was not compensated monetarily.


  1. I really enjoyed this book a great deal. It was so powerful!

  2. This sounds like a book that I would really enjoy...people from different cultures having to work through their differences.

  3. I had never read anything by this author before but i discovered this book this year and I really enjoyed it. Probably has been one of my favorites for the year this far.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation - I just added it to my To Read pile! Sounds really fascinating and a creative way to delve into a character.

  5. I have this book on my TBR shelf. Did you know it's supposed to be modeled on The Canterbury Tales? With all the different stories and different narrators, some good storytellers some not.

  6. Being trapped like that sounds like a nightmare to me. The book sounds like it would give you a lot to think about.

  7. I wrote papers on, and even presented on one of Divakaruni's early novels. I haven't yet read this one, but really have to soon! Thanks for the great review.

  8. This is going on my tbr list. Sounds fantastic. Thanks!

  9. I just got a copy of this from Paperback Swap ... I'm real excited to read it.

  10. Sounds like a really interesting book. I've looked at this author a lot.

  11. So glad I have this little gem waiting for me!

  12. I think that no matter how much you imagine how you might react in a life or death situation like that, you never really know until your in it. Maybe you would end up being really calm because you would be so incredibly shocked. Still, I love books that delve into the life or death scenario because emotions are so extreme and you really get to see people's true colors. I'm definitely interested in reading this book. Great review.

    Jennifer @ www.justicejennifer.com

  13. I read this one last month, and enjoyed the premise quite a lot, though I did have some issues with it! PS: I can't imagine being trapped either! Air, I need air and space!


Thank you for visiting! Leave a comment and share your thoughts with me!