Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hello From the Gillespies: A Novel by Monica McInerney

Hello from the Gillespies: A Novel.  Monica McInerney. Penguin Group (USA). November 2014. 624 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451466723.

Every year Angela Gillespie sends out a friendly, chatty Christmas letter for the holidays.  She fills it with bits and pieces of her perfect life in the Australian outback, a life she never dreamed she would spend most of her life in when she was a young woman living in England.  But here she is; only this year she gets more of her recent, severe headaches when thinking about what she should include as her year’s news.  A good friend Joan tells her to write the way things really are, to “let it rip.”  So all of a sudden, rather than bursting into tears, she takes her friend’s advice and really does write all about her dysfunctional family, from her neglectful, unromantic husband who barely talks to her, through her girls who have great dreams about careers but have really lousy relationships with boyfriends or are depressed, all the way to her youngest son Ig who spends his life chattering away, like he’s bonkers, to his imaginary friend.  Happy Holidays!

A terrible accident happens which is quickly resolved over several days; however, while she is dealing with that, her husband (without reading it) actually presses the send button for the Christmas letter to over a hundred family and friends. Oh, my God! Imagine Angela’s thoughts and feelings when she discovers what beloved hubby has done! And more how he feels when he realizes what was in the letter about himself and one of their nastier relatives!  In plain and simple English, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back and the bubbling, boiling pot overflows with an amazingly large bevy of previously unshared feelings and words!

Add to that the fact that the girls have lost their jobs and are returning home, expecting a monetary handout that might not be so forthcoming.  This then is the story of a family that finally is compelled to begin listening to each other, becoming sensitive to each other’s thoughts and feelings as well as words, in all becoming a real, mature adult family.  The process is riveting, totally engaging and absolutely delightful!

Hello from the Gillespies… is a thrilling read about which readers can say, “Oh yeah, that’s how it is in my crazy family and world!”  It’s a refreshing look at a normal Australian (is definitely universal) family that evolves through blood, sweat, tears and eventually hugs and kisses.  Highly recommended!!!!!

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