Published: May 24, 2005
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Australian triplets Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle are about to turn thirty-three and one is pregnant, one has just had her life turned upside down, and one is only just keeping hers from skidding off the fast lane. Meanwhile, their divorced parents have been behaving very oddly indeed.
In this family comedy by Liane Moriarty, we follow the three Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year -- as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.
I was initially a bit hesitant to read this. I had read her most recent novel, Big Little Lies, a few months before and, while I enjoyed it, I felt that it was a bit on the satirical side. That is fine now and then, but I had the feeling--unfairly--that this tone would show up again in Moriarty's other novels. But, then came the day I needed something light to read on my phone (I'm hiding my face in shame as a I type that....) and, scrolling through the many, many kindle titles I own, I settled on Three Wishes.
I did not realize that this was Moriarty's first novel until after I had finished it--there is nothing less mature about this book compared to her latest novel. In fact, I found this book to be superior to Big Little Lies,
The strongest aspect about the book is how well Moriarty crafts here characters. At the center of the story, of course, are the triplets. Each woman has a very distinct personality, and Moriarty doesn't base their characters solely on the fact that they are triplets (I've read a number of books with twins as characters where this was the case). Yes, there is some element of their birth in their personalities, especially in Gemma's character. Lyn and Cat are identical and Gemma is not, which would, of course, have some impact on her. For the most part, however, the women are shaped by what they experienced in their back story and will experience as the plot of this book. Even the secondary characters--the women's parents, their assorted partners, and their grandmother-come to life and, with the exception of the Grandmother, are able to buck any cliches (and, even though she is a bit stereotypical, Nana Kettle is still a treat).
Moriarty deftly structures this novel so that you are sucked in at the opening scene and you spend the next 3/4 of the novel getting back to that point. It doesn't read as a flashback--instead, it is almost like looking at scene through a window and then walking through a door into the scene itself. I was afraid that the last 1/4 of the would be a letdown. Once the reader swoops back to the original scene, where can they go? While Moriarty does use this part of the book to wrap up the rest of the story, it doesn't fell like a throw-away. She takes the time to draw each character's arc to a satisfying conclusion.
There is only one point that keeps me from giving this a 5 star review. Two of the sisters are or were involved in adulterous situations, but on different ends. Moriarty makes a few comments about this, enough to make the reader think that this should be a point of contention between the two characters, but then she drops it without offering any closure. I think Moriarty missed a great opportunity to delve even deeper with these two sisters.
In the end, though, this was a delightful read and one that convinced me that Liane Moriarty is more than Big Little Lies. This is a book that I would recommend to just about anyone looking for sometime fun and light--but not fluffy--to read.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.