Published by Penguin Books (UK) on 6th November 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
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....
Reviewed by Kelly
*I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley*
This is the first book I’ve read by Monica McInerney, although I’ve seen that she has written many others, and it won’t be the last one, either.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hello from the Gillespies and I’m so glad that I saw it on The Reading Date’s Mailbox Monday post a few weeks ago and went to NetGalley to request it.
The plot was simple enough in itself – Angela Gillespie is tired of her life and decides to write about it – EVERYTHING that she’s unhappy about. She never intends for anyone to see what she’s written. The problem is, she uses the annual Christmas newsletter template to write it and it accidentally gets sent out to more than 100 of her email contacts when her husband thinks he’s doing her a favour. Naturally, the contents of the letter are not taken well by everyone. Feelings are hurt, people are offended, her husband is left feeling angry and jealous. Things need to be sorted…but is it too late?
Everything about HftG was just so…normal…and I loved that. The characters were normal and relatable, their lives were normal (well kind of – they did live in the Australian outback!) and they had normal problems. And normal is NOT a bad thing. Normal does not mean that this book was boring. For me, normal meant I could relate to these characters, normal made me realise that the problems that this family had could happen to anyone. And that’s why I connected with the characters, their story, and their problems.
I loved Angela Gillespie. She was the one I could relate to the most, without a doubt. She was a busy mother of four very demanding kids. Yes, three of them were grown up but that didn’t stop them from making demands on her time and her purse. If my kids are that demanding in 20 years time I will cry! Ha! I also loved Nick and just felt so sorry for him and the things he had burdened himself with. You know what, I think I’m just going to go all out and say that I loved every single member of this family, and Joan, she was a star!
Hello from the Gillespies had a little bit of everything…heartbreak, anger, jealousy, feelings of isolation, characters feeling like they had no purpose, feeling like they were being taken for granted…but I think the most important thing that Hello from the Gillespies had is the message that communication is KEY!!
If you’re like me and you love holiday-themed reads at this time of the year then I definitely recommend that you give Hello from the Gillespies a go. It’ll leave you with a happy heart.