The Wish List
|The Wish List|
|October 1, 2003|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback) and audio-CD and audio cassette|
|Pages||256 pp (hardcover edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-7868-1863-8 (hardcover edition)|
|LC Class||PZ7.C677475 Wi 2003|
The Wish List is a fantasy novel by Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl series. It chronicles the adventures of Meg Finn, a teenage girl killed in a gas explosion who must earn her place in Heaven by returning to Earth to help the pensioner she attempted to rob.
Meg Finn is a teenage girl who tries to rob pensioner Lowrie McCall's house to get money and run away from her abusive stepfather Franco. She is the accomplice of a local thug named Belch and his pit bull. Lowrie interrupts their break-in, prompting Belch's dog to attack him. Belch refuses to call the dog off, until Meg takes Lowrie's shotgun and tries to force Belch to call an ambulance. Belch snatches the shotgun, forcing Meg to flee. Belch corners her at an old gas tank and fires a warning shot that explodes the gas tank, killing Meg, Belch and his dog instantly. Meg's spirit gets into the tunnel leading to her Heaven/Hell and also meets Belch's and his dog's spirit fused together. The Belch-dog hybrid is immediately sent to Hell, but Meg remains trapped in the tunnel.
Interested in Meg due to the cruel revenge she inflicted on her stepfather, Satan orders his right hand Beelzebub to get Meg's spirit to hell. Beelzebub investigates Meg's situation with the help of St. Peter, who decides if mortals deserve to be allowed to enter heaven, and both are surprised to discover that Meg's good intentions are balanced by her sinful actions. Unbeknownst to St. Peter, Beelzebub has the technology wizard Myishi send Belch and the hologram Elph to capture Meg. Meg learns her situation from the tunnel mite Flit, and through his guidance returns to earth as a spirit. With no other purpose, she decides to do some good by helping the injured Lowrie to complete his wish list, four wrongs in his disastrous life that he feels he must right. The first wish sees Lowrie find the courage to kiss his first love, now a famous television host. Although Meg is attacked by Blech, the completion of the wish blasts the dog-boy back to hell, taking him and Elph out of the picture for a time. Meg and Lowrie complete the second wish—break into Croke Park and score a goal—without too much incident. The third wish is more problematic; Lowrie wishes to punch Brendan Ball, an old school bully, but after Meg helps Lowrie find the man, Lowrie decides against it.
After Lowrie bids Brendan goodbye, Meg asks for Lowrie's help in punching her stepfather Franco. Lowrie agrees, but only on the condition that Meg shows him what the man did to make Meg seek her revenge. Meg reveals that Franco was a slob who spent his days watching television, and abused Meg and her mother. After her mother died in a car accident, Meg's situation got even worse. The final straw was when Franco stole her mother's engagement ring from Meg to pay for a new television. Meg then plotted a scheme to humiliate Franco: she videoed him hitting her, recorded herself destroying the new television, and played this footage back at Franco. She then recorded Franco's reaction, and had his friends watch all the footage, leaving him in total disgrace.
Knowing their time is short, and Meg will likely try to settle her score with Franco, Belch and Elph return to Earth, find Franco and drain his life force, only for Belch to become trapped in Franco's rapidly aged body. Meg and Lowrie arrive, and punch Belch in Franco's body. Finally, Lowrie and Meg head to the Cliffs of Moher so Lowrie can spit over them in honour of a song. Belch and Elph pursue them in Franco's body on a motorbike, and succeed in stopping Lowrie's heart, dragging Meg to hell. As she returns to the tunnel, the tunnel-mite Flit reminds her of pebbles given to her to extend her time on Earth, thus allowing Meg to go back and use the stones' power to revive Lowrie and help him complete his last wish. Her last act of kindness sees Meg choose to give up her remaining time on Earth to restore Franco's life force. Upon returning to the tunnel for the third and final time, Meg is sent to heaven by St. Peter, and smells her mother's perfume as she prepares to rejoin her.
- Meg Finn – The protagonist, a rebellious teenager.
- Lowrie McCall – The old man with many regrets whom Meg and Belch tried to rob.
- Belch Brennan – The main antagonist, a teenage thug who commits crimes in his spare time.
- Elph – An AI help computer program made by Myishi in his own image.
- St. Peter – The saint who decides whether or not a soul is allowed into heaven.
- Beelzebub – Satan's right-hand demon.
- Franco – Meg's stepfather, an abusive and lazy man who is addicted to TV.
- Flit – A tunnel mite with a grammar problem. Charged with collecting soul residue from the walls of the tunnel leading to Heaven and Hell.
- Raptor – Belch's dog, with whom he later merges.
- Cicely Ward – A famous old friend of Lowrie McCall whom he wishes to kiss as part of his Wish List.
- Dessie – A bouncer who works at Cicely Ward's studio, brother of Murt.
- Murt – A security guard at Croke Park, brother of Dessie.
- Satan – The leader of Hell, portrayed as a businessman focusing on quotas.
- Myishi – An annoying computer geek who lives in Hell, creator of Elph. Similar to Foaly in Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. This name is also found in Colfer's The Supernaturalist.
- Brendan Ball – A bully who humiliated Lowrie at school.
Portrayal of relationship between Heaven and Hell
Unlike many novels about the relationship of Heaven to Hell and the traditional Judeo-Christian portrayal, Hell is not a place of eternal pain and torture, more akin to Purgatory. For instance, Satan does not always take pleasure in killing or torturing others, seeing it more as a given role than a personal pleasure. Beelzebub is also tasked with all of Satan's inane duties, including handling the capture of Meg Finn herself. Likewise, Heaven is not completely pure, as Saint Peter seems to take pleasure in sending souls to limbo instead of through the Pearly Gates, as well as letting souls through that are not completely pure. Saint Peter also pokes fun at his own station and Heaven itself; at the end of the book, when Meg is let through to Heaven, he comments that the 'Pearly Gates' are not pearly, it just sounded more appealing than "hole in the sky".
Myishi is a company in The Supernaturalist, another children's book written by Eoin Colfer so it is possible that Myishi was the founder of the company originally. Colfer said at the EIBF 2008 that this was also purposeful, as he wants his books to be set in the same universe, and then compared his universe to Marvel's.
Meg Finn shares her surname with Conor Finn, the alter ego of Conor Broekhart, the protagonist of Eoin Colfer's book Airman and with Colfer's son, Finn Colfer.