Hello From the Gillespies
by Monica McInerney
published by NAL Trade
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Something is wrong with the Gillespie family. Life is not as great as it always seems from the yearly Christmas letter Angela sends about her, her husband Nick, and their four children. Angela is experiencing painful headaches, and suspects Nick is having an affair. Twins Genevieve and Victoria, along with younger sister Lindy have seen their personal and professional lives spiral out of control and are on the way home for the holidays to lick their wounds. Youngest Ignatius has run away from boarding school for a third time. AND Aunt Celia is coming to stay. With all this piling up on her, Angela finds it hard to summon a cheerful image for her letter. So, she tells the truth, and then has to deal with the fallout.
I liked the first third of this book, felt the second third was in danger of becoming too cliche, and then got wrapped up in the ending. This book really surprised me. I love dysfunctional families and this story started pretty strongly with the implosion of the Gillespie family. When it seemed things were going a little off, the author offers up a surprise that saves it from being a little boring, and has it become unputdownable. I really enjoyed this. I felt I was in a weird Australian groove, reading this and listening to Burial Rites, written by Australian Hannah Kent, and then The Rosie Effect, where both main characters are Aussies. I loved the description of the outback, the sheep station, and life on it. A great-and quick-read!
For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways….
More about the author
Monica McInerney is the internationally bestselling author of eleven novels including Hello from the Gillespies, The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters and Those Faraday Girls (which was named the General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards.)
Monica, 49, grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, where her father was the railway stationmaster and her mother worked in the local library. Before becoming a full-time writer she worked in children’s television, tourism festivals, book publishing, arts marketing, the music industry and as a waitress, a hotel cleaner, a Kindergym instructor and a temp. For the past twenty-three years she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently live in Dublin.
How odd that you had three Australian books on the go in one format or another. I did enjoy this book and liked the way the author used a device to breathe life into the story and give it a change of direction. Great review.
I read Upside Down Inside Out by Monica McInerney and really enjoyed the Australian feel of it as well. I don’t know much about Australia, but it really made me want to visit. I am so glad you liked this book; I will have to check it out.