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on 6 March 2001
THE WISH LIST
Eoin Colfer's latest children's book, 'The Wish List', is one of the most unusual you will find. It manages to combine a deep and spiritual storyline with the funniest, most down-to-earth humour imaginable, and also has warm, sympathetic characters, who spring to life (or indeed afterlife!) from the page. The protagonist of the book is Meg Finn, aged fourteen,"bold but not bad". Her mother's death, her odious stepfather and a rough neighbourhood have all left their mark on her, the end result being that she is trapped into taking part in a burglary. However, the "job" does not go as planned; so much so, in fact, that by the end of chapter one both Meg and the leader of the break-in, Belch, are in the direst straits imaginable. Meg discovers that the keeper of the Pearly Gates is not as easy to con as the juvenile court. Fit for neither heaven nor hell, her aura an indefinite purple instead of the blue of the virtuous or the red of the wicked, she has no choice but to try to find a way to tip the scales in heaven's favour. The way involves Lowrie McCall, owner of the house she had tried to burgle, and the Wish List may be a solution for both. Unfortunately, they have reckoned without the evil, cunning and obstinacy of the Devil and his sidekick Beelzebub, for Meg's soul is of especial interest to Satan. His instrument: her ex fellow-criminal, Belch Brennan. Can all Meg's smartness defeat the immense powers of evil pitted against her? The story races along. Almost everything it touches, from the security guards at the national television station to St. Peter's mobile phone, is treated with the same dry humour, yet I never once found the scenario itself ridiculous. The earthly issues, as well as the unearthly ones, are of importance and relevance, in particular the way in which bad society and difficult family life can drag down a basically good person. Meg Finn is likeable as she is presented to us - we see her thoughts and her true feelings - yet it is fair to say that not many of us would feel any such empathy if we heard simply the bald facts of the break-in. This, for me, was a huge theme in the book: we should not judge someone until we know of the events and people who may have influenced them. Another issue raised in the book is the loneliness that can be experienced by old people, as evidenced in the life of Lowrie McCall. One character only, whom we do not meet in person, is never flippantly treated. Meg's dead mother is always tenderly spoken of, as though her love was the one blessing that Meg experienced in life. Whatever Meg's expressed longings, is what she really craves for to see her mother again? I cannot fault this book. Moving yet funny, intense yet easy to read, I would strongly recommend it for age 11 +. It will encourage tolerance, provoke shrieks of laughter, and - who knows - perhaps it may help prepare you for an unexpected hereafter!
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on 25 January 2014
A clear case of reward & punishment depending on how actions are classified which affects the characters' final destination in the afterlife. There is a lot of humour in the book from the portrayal of gatekeepers of heaven & hell to the situations the various characters experience in the course of their adventures. Equally, you are left to enjoy the unlikely friendship which springs up between and her elderly original victim of crime, Lowrie.

This book would be a good one for young teenagers; mature readers would enjoy it for its interesting view of being able to come 'back to life' to have a chance to redeem yourself while it should give the elderly pause for thought as they contemplate their lives' ends -my category... Colfer never disappoints.
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on 9 December 2012
Beautifully written and funny and touching in places. Without going into too much detail, as I believe every experience is individual to each reader, this is a delightful, insightful and compelling read. It is humorous in places and my favourite recent read.
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on 18 November 2016
A super read with a good moral message...I love Eoin Colfer's writing style!
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on 28 May 2015
Excellent book in the series and well written.
A must if you enjoy this type of Genre.
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on 24 November 2010
am a big fan of artemis fowl so selected this book for my first book club choice; bit disapointed to be honest and overall the book received a big thumbs down from everyone, though I am a grown-up so am not the target audience.
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on 11 March 2016
as expected
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on 23 May 2016
Ok read.
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on 26 August 2014
An engaging book - not quite as funny as the blurb would suggest - a book for young teens.
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on 18 November 2010
I bought this to use in class as I love the book so much. I'm disappointed that the actress reads the (abridged) text with an English accent, especially as the text clearly features the Irish accent and dialect. The abridged version also skips/ misses out crucial subtle humour. The book is fantastic; the audio-cd and disappointment. Don't waste your money.
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