Friday, 7 November 2014

Book Review - Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Hello From the Gillespies
Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney
Published: 6th November 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 528
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
For the last thirty years, Angela Gillespie's annual Christmas letter has been full of her family's triumphs. But this year Angela surprises everyone, including herself - she tells the truth.

Angela's husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend.

With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela's real life is slowly slipping out of focus.

But, as the repercussions of her ruthlessly honest letter begin to pile up, a shocking event takes Angela from her family, and she realises she should have been more careful of what she wished for. .

I was instantly drawn to the cover of this book; I have a real love of all things postal so a book based on a letter has my interest straight away .Thank you to Penguin for allowing me to read an arc copy of this through Net Galley.  Hello from the Gillespie’s is set in the outback of Southern Australia on the sheep station of Errigal. Every year since her marriage to Nick, Angela has written a Christmas letter highlighting all the good things her and family have done throughout the year, she sends this letter on December 1st to over a hundred people across the world.

 This year things haven’t being going so well for the family. Twins Genevieve and Victoria are living away from home and having their own problems, Victoria having come out of a nasty affair which ended her Sydney radio career and Genevieve being caught up in celebrity gossip, her other daughter Lindy has returned home after a failed attempt at running her own business and son Ig has run away from boarding school and is spending all his time talking to imaginary friend Robbie. As for Nick, he’s spending all his time researching family history, shutting himself away from everyone. He and Angela are barley speaking and Angela feels more distant from her family than she ever has been.

So Angela is not sure what to write in her letter, friend Joan suggests she writes how she really feels instead of just the glossy things Angela usually writes. So Angela does just that, she lets all her emotions flow into the letter and even describes her fantasy life.  Angela saves the letter, intending to edit it later with what she ought to say, but as it usually does with a big family, life gets in the ways and Angela never gets a chance to change the letter before it accidentally gets sent out.

The aftermath of the letter send the family into complete disarray and push Angela and Nick even further apart. Angela becomes more and more withdrawn spending most of her time dreaming about her fantasy family, until eventually a tragic event leaves Angela more apart from her family than any of them could imagine.

I found this book a truly wonderful read, in the beginning I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen as we were introduced to each of member of the Gillespie family and found out what life was like for them.  As the family became reunited in a geographical sense at least I found I was totally absorbed by the everyday life of this family.  Monica has a real talent for being able to give you the viewpoints of the six main members of the family and make them all distinguishable so the story was easy to follow and flowed at just the right pace to keep you wanting to read just a little bit more.

I loved every character in the Gillespie family, although they seemed to have their differences and their squabbles the love they had for each other just flowed off the page and I really felt like I was a part of that too.  I loved the way that all the children seemed to grow up a little and help, their mother when she really needed them all.  My favourite character was Joan, she was just so brutally honest with all of them but at times they needed it to pull themselves together.

This book is full of the drama of family life and some slightly more shocking events, which made for an incredible read as you weren’t sure what exactly was going to happen next.  It’s a book which makes you truly value your family and makes you really think about what you wish for, because sometimes you might just get it and not in the way you expect.

If you are looking for a read which is incredibly emotional, has characters you will fall in love with and plot that will keep you hooked until then end then I recommend this book, it’s perfect.

Rating 5/5

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