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Literature / Three Wishes

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Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love.

Three Wishes is a novel by Liane Moriarty.

Tropes of this novel include:

  • A-Cup Angst: All three sisters, to some extent.
  • Amusing Injuries: In a piece of Black Comedy, the novel starts with a heavily pregnant woman getting a fork stuck in her belly after another woman threw it at her in a rage. The victim seems mostly confused, while her assailant faints on the spot from the horror of what she's done and a third woman sighs and calls an ambulance. Don't worry, everyone involved turns out to be fine!
  • Chick Lit: Husbands, faithful and otherwise. Children, and the problems of having and not having them. Very nearly everything in the book ties back to one of those two things.
  • Driving Question: What started the fight at the restaurant?
  • Establishing Character Moment: At the start of the first chapter proper, we're told what would happen if someone asked the sisters how it all started: Gemma would refuse to take the question seriously and start joking around, Cat would get annoyed and start snapping at her, and then Lyn would step in, defuse the argument, and deliver the obviously correct answer.
  • Fiery Redhead: Subverted. Gemma has red hair but is mellow to a fault, while her blonde sisters are both aggressive and argumentative.
  • Genius Ditz: Gemma is forgetful and easily distracted. She's also really good at math, to the point where she can make a bundle on the stock market by analysing trends.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Lyn read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in college. This is noted to have been an almost religious experience for her.
  • Hero of Another Story: The chapters are interspaced with the accounts of random strangers who encountered the sisters at some point of their lives, and what sort of impression they made.
  • Hourglass Plot: It gradually becomes clear that Gemma and Cat have both effectively ended up pursuing the sort of life the other one originally wanted, and that this is not making either of them happy.
  • Hot-Blooded: Cat gets angry a lot.
  • How We Got Here: The book starts with an account by several bystanders at a restaurant of three women, one of whom is pregnant, having a massive argument where one claims that the other two have ruined her life. It then flashes back to a year earlier, and for much of the rest of the book the reader is kept guessing about which of the three protagonists was which woman, and what the fight was about.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Cat has fertility problems and is massively depressed about it. Meanwhile, Gemma claims not to want children of her own but gets pregnant because she fumbles her birth control use. Subverted as it turns out that Gemma does want a family badly, she's just in denial about it after being traumatised by her last serious relationship, and Cat is implied to have wanted a family mostly because she always wants whatever Lyn has. Averted with Lyn, whose uterus is as impeccably reliable as the rest of her and produced a child exactly when she decided to have one.
  • Love Martyr: All things considered, Charlie is surprisingly okay with the fact that his girlfriend dumped him for no apparent reason, then didn't speak to him for half a year, then suddenly called him up to tell him that he'd better come to the hospital, because she was about to give birth to their child.
  • Obsessed Are The List Makers: Lyn lives by her to-do lists.
  • The Slacker: Gemma seems to actively resist any and all commitments and responsibilities, even up to having her own home. Instead, she makes a living apartment-sitting. This turns out to be because she almost got stuck in an abusive marriage and is now subconsciously terrified of being trapped again.
  • Statuesque Stunner: All three sisters.
  • Twin Telepathy: Defied. The sisters absolutely do not have this, and to demonstrate that the book brings up three times when something horribly traumatic happened to one of them and the other two, who were elsewhere, just blithely went about their business.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Lyn has spent her whole life resenting her father for being an irresponsible goofball. After his own mother gets injured in a home invasion, he seems to age several decades and becomes the sort of person who writes angry letters to newspapers about how society has gone to the dogs. Lyn is surprised to find herself missing his old insufferable self.
  • Woman Scorned: After Cat's husband leaves her, she finds his car outside his girlfriend's house and slashes his tires.