Title: Hello From the Gillespies
Author: Monica McInerney
Publisher: Penguin Group Berkley, NAL/Signet Romance, DAW NAL Trade
Date of Publication: 04 November 2014
Number of Pages: 606
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5 star
Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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 herselfshe 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…[cut]
Review: The first thing I want to tell anyone reading this review is DO NOT READ THE ENTIRE SYNOPSIS. If you read the next sentence in the blurb, it will change the way you read the book, change your enjoyment and trust me, you do not want that because the story works better without it. The line I have cut is a spoiler and we all hate those. Do yourselves a favour.
To be completely honest, I’ve given this book 3.5 stars because of the enjoyment I found in the reading but I’m not sure it is entirely deserving of the rating. For one, there is a lot of extraneous text that would not have undermined the story had it been viciously cut. Two, the characters were a little flat and annoying. I found it hard to believe that they could all be such miserable sad sacks, almost perfect Joan, obnoxious Celia and then there’s Angela. For a character meant to be the protagonist, I could take her or leave her. Three, McInerney doesn’t really convey the vastness of the Australian outback. Sure, she tries to by reminding the reader of the four hour drive from the station to Adelaide or that it’s an hour to drive to Joan’s house or how much land their property sits on but it falls flat. I am Australian, I understand the concept of vast but I don’t think someone from the UK, who has never experienced an Aussie landscape, will have any clue. It ultimately feels as though she tried too hard. The section I found most believable was the section where Nick is in London.
These niggles aside, it was a nice, fluffy, quick read and one that I found myself enjoying despite what I have just mentioned. Hello From the Gillespies has been a quite a change to what I’ve found myself reading lately. It was a nice break but it isn’t a style / genre I want to spend a lot of time with.
Who would I recommend this book to? Fans of chick-lit / women’s lit (awful genre titles but that’s another story), and women 50+ (no offense, I just feel readers who can identify with Angela will get more from the book).