Book review – Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Sensible Lyn, evil Cat and Bohemian, unpredictable Gemma. Three sisters. Triplets, who are as different from each other as their physicality is alike. Three girls who share a birthday, a history and a disastrous night which lands one of them in hospital.

Liane Moriarty’s first published book, Three Wishes, is my latest read. What I particularly enjoy about Moriarty’s books are not just the uniquely individual characters, but the way in which she weaves together many stories. It is clear from her first novel, now reprinted several times, that she has always possessed the singular skill to make the reader understand every impacting element on the characters’ lives, even if they themselves don’t yet know it.

In particular, Three Wishes explores the relationship between these close sisters, and examines whether perhaps their personalities are a result of needing to be different from each other. As they look so similar to their siblings, each sister’s differing characteristics provide a way of defining themselves as a separate being. But try as we might, siblings always end up with some similarities. In Three Wishes, there are identical quirks which the women are still discovering at age thirty-three; quirks such as the way they wrinkle their nose when they laugh, or what they say when killing a cockroach.

My sister and I are not twins. We were born fifteen months apart, but look similar to each other. Growing up with a sibling so close in age means that our impact on each other was profound. We have very few personality traits in common. In fact, we have often been described as chalk and cheese. For years, I thought this was because there had been an agreement made in the cosmos, before either of us was born, that split every possible trait into one of two piles, minimising the double-ups. However, I now wonder if we are so different because of one another. Did we, in fact, have a tug-o-war in our formative years that involved fighting over the personality battle ground? We will never know.

In spite of all these differences, there is also an undeniable need to be in each other’s lives. My sister is a constant in my life, a fixed point which I could not imagine living without. This sisterly connection is perfectly communicated in Three Wishes. Even Gemma, who house-sits rather than rent, can’t keep a boyfriend longer than six months and takes temp jobs when required, sees her family, and her sisters in particular, as the only real thing in her life. This book so wonderfully expresses the profound, at times complicated, but always beautiful relationship between sisters. A great read for anyone with a sister.

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