Most of the time, my 3 on a themes are books with similar elements that I read at almost the same time. For two of the books in this set, I did read them one right after the other. I thought for sure the third book would be the next one I read, but it ended up being nearly a year later before I found it!
And this mystery element is an empty or blank fortune cookie.
Sure, I’ve read plenty of books where the characters open fortune cookies. But Mosquitoland by David Arnold was the first time I’d seen on where the fortune was blank:
She [the mother] cracked a fortune cookie against the side of our table like an egg, then unrolled the tiny vanilla-scented paper. I waited patiently for the celestial kitsch: the doors to freedom and the dearest wishes and the true loves revealed by moonlight. But her fortune wasn’t nearly as fortuitous as all that… I looked at her fortune, flipped it over, flipped it again. There was nothing written on it. No words of wisdom or dire predictions, just… nothing. A blank strip of paper.
This discovery leads the mother into a deep depression.
The next book I picked up after Mosquitoland was an ARC of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, and again someone finds a blank slip of paper inside a fortune cookie:
“Mine is blank.”
She looked. His fortune was indeed blank except a series of numbers. He looked so disappointed. The cookies were bad enough. But no fortune?
Then Christopher’s mother tells him:
“No fortune is the best fortune. Now you get to make up your own.”
Quite a different reaction!
In We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar, there’s no blank slip of paper. Rather, the fortune cookie is empty. The recipient, James, reacts much like Christopher’s mother:
I guess I get to write my own future, he says.
(I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but given the theme of the novel I have a feeling that this is foreshadowing of something tragic…)
What a relief to have my trifecta of books about fortune-less cookies! Has this ever popped up in a book you’ve read, or has it happened to you in real life? Let me know in the comments!