Review: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover how claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We also meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook.  Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . . down.

Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might just make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.

I’ve tried many times to read this book, but could never get past the first story. Then I decided to use my newest set of free-trial Audible credits to listen to this book on audio instead, and it was mildly entertaining. 

I did enjoy Novak’s narration of his stories. He has a way of telling them, which isn’t surprising because of his acting, and given that he wrote the stories. As with short-story collections, I like to list my ratings of each story, but there are so many of them that I won’t list them all. Instead, I’ll just list the ones that were my favorites, either because of the narration, the story itself, or both.

  • The Rematch
  • The Ambulance Driver
  • Kellogg’s (or: the last wholesome fantasy of the middle-school boy) 
  • The Something by John Grisham
  • Romance, chapter one
  • Missed connection: grocery spill at 21st and 6th 2:30 pm on Wednesday
  • Closure
  • Great Writers Steal
  • If You Love Something

Out of this list, my top favorites were Kellogg’s, The Ambulance Driver, The Something by John Grisham, and Closure. Closure because of Mindy Kaling and Rainn Wilson’s additions to the narration. 

In addition to them, I loved the other additional celebrity voices to some of the stories Novak wrote. It made listening to the stories entertaining, even if I wasn’t fond of the actual story. I’m not disappointed that I listened to this audiobook, but it’s not one I’d go through again. It was one of those one-and-done books and not one I’d go out of my way to recommend. 

But if I were to recommend it, I’d recommend the audio version.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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