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Third Wish (2-Volume Boxed Set with Music Companion CD) A Novel in Five Parts [Paperback]

Robert Fulghum
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Strangely interesting, but it's not for me March 17 2011
Format:Paperback
It took me a while to give this book a fair and considerate read. I have to admit that at first I really did not like it. I hated many of the character's names (and still do) and I had problems with the incomplete sentences and the unorthodox indentations. It can work when done correctly but I thought that the author was trying too hard to break the rules without having a reason to. Frankly, the whole book seemed pretentious and self-important. If it wasn't for the commitment that I made to truly review the book I would have given up on it half way through the first volume. However, as I stuck with it I began to be interested in some of the characters (I really liked India-What and cared about what she said). Still, I always felt like a lifelong carnivore sitting down to a gourmet vegan dinner. As good as it is I still crave butter and meat.

Third Wish has elements from several different books, the most obvious is Alice in Wonderland with it's nonsensical phrases and silly lines such as the Jumwillies or the unusual conversations. The Rabbit costumes and the rubber noses are just a few examples of the peculiar behavior of the characters in this book. Many of the conversations (O-K, most of them) where written in a style that I have never heard anyone use in real life. It could be that the author wished that people talked more like his characters than they do, I for one don't.

All of the attention to what I can only describe as "artifacts" (such as the unusual gifts that some of the characters send to each other) in the book really made me become more and more aware that this book is not written for someone like me, however I know of several people who would love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unlike most Novels you will ever read! Sept. 24 2009
By B. Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Third Wish is a multi-genre reading and listening experience that operates and works on several different levels.

The book is a novel, and yet in reading it and listening to the accompanying music CD (original music by the way, tied specifically to points in the book) it also is a work that encompasses the culture, music, art, architecture and society of a Greek Island. Add to that, a very well written and introspective moving through the lives and relationships of the protagonists and you have a feast for the heart and intellect that is rarely seen in fictional literary works.

It may seem odd, but this reviewer found the experience more than a little reminiscent of the classical volumes of Will and Ariel Durant in some ways. See particularly The Story of Civilization, Vol II: The Life of Greece by Will Durant.

Of course those elements are not the primary focus, but the background information and research that went into this book represent a similar thoroughness and attention to detail that sets the tone and context of this work to a remarkable degree that I've never observed in a formal fictional genre.

Add to these elements, Fulgham's introspective and spiritual approach to the characters and relationships he builds upon and you have again, a very remarkable and unique book.

5 Stars. I recommend it heartily.

Bart Breen
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strangely interesting but it's not for me Dec 10 2008
By Timothy B. Riley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It took me a while to give this book a fair and considerate read. I have to admit that at first I really did not like it. I hated many of the character's names (and still do) and I had problems with the incomplete sentences and the unorthodox indentations. It can work when done correctly but I thought that the author was trying too hard to break the rules without having a reason to. Frankly, the whole book seemed pretentious and self-important. If it wasn't for the commitment that I made to truly review the book I would have given up on it half way through the first volume. However, as I stuck with it I began to be interested in some of the characters (I really liked India-What and cared about what she said). Still, I always felt like a lifelong carnivore sitting down to a gourmet vegan dinner. As good as it is I still crave butter and meat.

Third Wish has elements from several different books, the most obvious is Alice in Wonderland with it's nonsensical phrases and silly lines such as the Jumwillies or the unusual conversations. The Rabbit costumes and the rubber noses are just a few examples of the peculiar behavior of the characters in this book. Many of the conversations (O-K, most of them) where written in a style that I have never heard anyone use in real life. It could be that the author wished that people talked more like his characters than they do, I for one don't.

All of the attention to what I can only describe as "artifacts" (such as the unusual gifts that some of the characters send to each other) in the book really made me become more and more aware that this book is not written for someone like me, however I know of several people who would love it. Maybe someone who is into Deepak Chopra or other writers of new age spiritual thought would find this book deep and full of meaning. I am much too pragmatic for Third Wish, but it could possibly appeal to someone with more developed spiritual sensibilities than I. The author can cook, I just don't care for his type of food.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Wish is a Unique Experience Dec 11 2008
By Jamie Ratliff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Third Wish is a unique experience. The story is obviously a long one, but one that needs to have an audience. The accompanied music is very important to the story, as it shines a brighter light on the participating characters. I have thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Max-Pol, Alex, Alice, Kostas and Wonko. The adventures of Dog and Alice-Alice were not as exciting to me, but of course I was missing my friends by the time we met. Since Third Wish is so unique to me, I really have nothing to compare it with, though I have read hundreds of books. Third Wish stands alone, not only as a story, but as an adventure. The adventure seems to be an external one, a record of trips and happenings. Along the way you realize that another adventure has already started in the readers mind. This journey is not into just the characters, but the world in which the characters exist. I had to remind myself that the adventures of the "Jumwillies" takes place in the present. The wonderful places and experiences they enjoy and share keep me thinking that they are living a thousand years ago. I yearned for the peaceful and fun trips they were having, as well as the silence that only a comfortable friend can provide during a visit. I would have enjoyed being a Jumwillie, sharing their laughter, stories, and emotions. I'm sure the Freudian experts would have a lot to say about the story within a story within a story. Of course, by doing so they would miss the entire point of Third Wish! For in the end, we are as readers only a witness.

Though we can share in the telling of the many stories that the novel reveals, we are reminded that we are not being witnessed ourselves. We are bound to the characters by their stories, but as we know, some secrets must not be told. Thus, we are left with only one truth...

Nobody knows what the Jumwillies know.

I would describe Third Wish as a journey into the intimate lives of characters that enjoy the simple pleasures that life can bring...though most of us do not see them. These characters however have conflicts and dilemmas along the way. Third Wish is, above all, a journey. A journey of history, friendship, laughter, love, peace, sadness, and finally understanding and acceptance.

Third Wish stands alone among the hundreds of books I have read. It is unique in many ways, and the level of intertwining of characters and stories is rare in my opinion.

To Mr. Fulghum, Thank you for the enlightenment, enjoyment, and your gift of many stories in Third Wish. I find myself thinking of taking a walk with a friend and playing my own version of left right surprise. I think of visiting Crete one day, and enjoying the simple pleasures that Alex and Max-Pol experienced. I think of the many simple pleasures that in a busy world are forgotten. The idea of retroactive wishes should not be taken lightly, and I hope to be reminded of them in the future.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlike most Novels you will ever read! Dec 10 2008
By B. Breen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Third Wish is a multi-genre reading and listening experience that operates and works on several different levels.

The book is a novel, and yet in reading it and listening to the accompanying music CD (original music by the way, tied specifically to points in the book) it also is a work that encompasses the culture, music, art, architecture and society of a Greek Island. Add to that, a very well written and introspective moving through the lives and relationships of the protagonists and you have a feast for the heart and intellect that is rarely seen in fictional literary works.

It may seem odd, but this reviewer found the experience more than a little reminiscent of the classical volumes of Will and Ariel Durant in some ways. See particularly The Story of Civilization, Vol II: The Life of Greece by Will Durant.

Of course those elements are not the primary focus, but the background information and research that went into this book represent a similar thoroughness and attention to detail that sets the tone and context of this work to a remarkable degree that I've never observed in a formal fictional genre.

Add to these elements, Fulgham's introspective and spiritual approach to the characters and relationships he builds upon and you have again, a very remarkable and unique book.

5 Stars. I recommend it heartily.

Bart Breen
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious 900+ page novel is bland, verbose Dec 9 2008
By K. W. Schreiter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Though I had no experience with Robert Fulghum's writings, I was excited to read the 900-page Third Wish after receiving Amazon's strong recommendation "based on books you've purchased that we feel are comparable to Third Wish". I tried repeatedly to get into this massive novel, giving it several hours of effort, but couldn't stay interested enough to make it past page 224. I enjoyed the first few chapters but soon tired of the slow, tedious pace and never developed an interest in any of the main characters. Fulghum spends verbose pages recounting Alex and Max's trivial discussions of Cretan trivia or the contents of packages mailed by Alice to Max. With several more attractive options on the shelf, picking up this book again grew tougher until I abandoned it completely. I also did not enjoy the accompanying CD of bland instrumental music. A paean to the author's part-time home of Crete, I would recommend this book to anyone with a passion for the island or planning a holiday there. I admire Fulghum's ambition in crafting such a massive tome but unfortunately would not recommend this to a friend.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I sincerely tried to like this story, but it didn't work for me Jan. 10 2009
By citizen fact checker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Out of respect for the author and for Amazon.com, I read the two volumes completely and listened to the CD all the way through. I am being generous in giving the story and the CD three stars. I couldn't get the point of "Third Wish" which is a story-within-a-story and eventually a play-within-a-story-within-a-story. As such, the novel is more than somewhat labyrinthine. It does have some philosophical gems embedded throughout--and these I valued. But I did experience sensory overload from all the content and was glad to have finally finished with the book--except for writing this review.

This story will take a lot of time for most people to read and assimilate all the content. Some parts of the novel flow faster than others; in other parts some of the characters can't seem to shut up. I did not like any of the characters named Alice nor Alice-Alice, or whatever. They cannot seem to decide who they are or who they want to be. The Alice persons seemed so scatterbrained that I lost interest in what I perceived as their phony-baloney actions. Seemed to me that so much of their behavior was just an act.

I liked Alex best of all. He seemed authentic. I could even visualize a person like Alex as being among my own friends. I also liked Kostas. Again, he seemed authentic.

Almost from the beginning, before I began to dislike the story, "Third Wish" reminded me of three very different types of books and/or authors that I enjoyed from earlier readings. The first that popped out at me were the Griffin and Sabine books. It seemed to me that Griffin and Sabine were witnesses to each other. The next that came to mind were those by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His stories are certainly labyrinthine and fascinating. And finally, "Travels with Charlie: In Search of America," by Steinbeck. Charlie, the pet dog, was Steinbeck's witness in my opinion.

I found the CD boring: Guess I was looking for lively Zorba-the-Greek style music.

I did agree with the author's description of three wishes, since I have experienced what he describes. First: Make a wish. Second: Oh, boy! Wish gets granted! Third: Try to extricate yourself from the damage that has been done to your life by the wish having been granted.

To conclude on a lighter note, I really did chuckle at the definition of savoir-faire and e-mailed that definition to friends--who e-mailed back asking for the novel's title. Perhaps they will post more-positive reviews of "Third Wish."
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