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Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL
Publication Date: 11/04/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Penguin Group and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Monica McInerney’s Hello From the Gillespies, is an entertaining, hilarious, and brutally honest "family drama of life's messiness at its best" from the front cover to the end!
Angela Gillespie, has a tradition every Christmas. She writes a letter to all her friends with a summary and account of all the exciting events and photos of her family. (not always an honest account with a lot of fluff). Of course, it always has contained the pretty things in life, what everyone wants to hear from a perfect family, right?
This year, as Angela sits down to compile her thoughts, she thinks, why? Her life sucks, and with creative juices flowing, she begins taking each part of her life, her husband, each of her children, her ex-boyfriend, and her pitiful life and what could have been – every last miserable detail. She begins to think for a moment, what it would be like to actually send this email with her real thoughts instead of a false facade as usual.
Of course, this is just an exercise, to vent, and not to actually send (haven’t we all done this, with our bosses, colleagues, friends, family members, ex-husbands or boyfriends)?
At that moment as she is about to delete it, there is a household emergency, sending them to the hospital, leaving the forgotten computer. What she does not anticipate is her husband finding it, thinking he is doing her a favor, by adding in her contact list and sending it out by the deadline, without reading it first.
Can you imagine, this is like having your private diary or journal being found, or back in the old days, your cell phone call has not been disconnected or you inadvertently call someone; having a conversation about your boyfriend and he overhears the entire conversation (this happened to a friend of mine, while we were having coffee). Ouch! Everyone has experienced the terror of breached email etiquette and the slip of, reply to all which cannot be undone.
I was laughing so hard, as McInerney has some clever one liners with the character's private thoughts mixed with the tragedy. A family saga which many of us can relate, especially with high expectations during the Christmas season which relate to the perfect family. From sibling rivalry, to old loves, from second guessing, to dreaming what if.
This was my first book by McInerney and enjoyed the conversation with the author at the end, which offers the reader insights into her inspiration for the novel and its characters.
Her exploration of using family life dynamics and members at different life stages: Ig – school, three daughters trying to figure out their career choices and love lives, and Angela and Nick and their marriage was very realistic. Especially grown adult children returning home to live with parents which is very common today, when they should be empty nesters, and her vast research of geographical, historical, and medical information.
Hello from the Gillespies is an ideal book for book clubs or discussions with a nice list at the end as readers explore each character, personalities, secrets, and more!
I was drawn initially by the stunning front cover (as this is the first thing I note when deciding to read a book), as the doors are mysterious, and intriguing, as you want to learn what lies behind closed doors and this family. In addition, nice character development and vivid descriptions of settings, transporting you the place and time.
Hello From the Gillespies is unique; however, reminds me a little of Jan Karon Mitford Series and the humor and complexity of Jo Jo Moyes and Liane Moriarty. Look forward to reading more from this author.