Monica McInerney's Hello from the Gillespies
You can read my full review at
It seems my subconscious mind has been in Christmas mode for weeks now because I keep choosing books that are Christmas related. My last such treat was Monica McInerney’s Hello from the Gillespies. I have to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of it, in exchange for (what else but) an honest review.
I did not grow up in North America. I don’t have a sentimental attachment to Christmas linked closely to deeply rooted childhood memories. I don’t easily identify with numerous Christmas related traditions. Yet I did form a sentimental attachment to this holiday in my adult years. Not the consumerist aspect of it. Anything that gives me an excuse to be surrounded by my loved ones is my kind of holiday.
Family photos, Christmas cards, Christmas letters. Though I don’t participate in any of those, I still find them endearing. And that’s how the story in the book starts. Angela, Gillespies matriarch, has been writing the family Christmas letter for over 30 years. Except this year she experiences an overwhelming urge to be brutally honest and vent about everything happening in her life. I’m sure many of us have at some point felt the same. (I know I have…plus writing out your feelings can be quite therapeutic) She does not intend for her words to be read by anyone but when the letter ends up being sent to all their family and friends, it initiate a dramatic and humorous chain of events.
Gillespies live in South Australia on an outback station that’s been in the family for generations. One big, for the most part happy and imperfect family. Angela’s husband Nick, the “strong, silent type” has been really in touch with his silent side in the wake of all the economic difficulties hitting their region. These days he is more interested in tracing back the roots of his family, than pretty much anything else. There oldest daughters, twins Genevieve and Victoria, have managed to turn their own lives upside down, each in her own “dramatic” way. Lindy, their younger sister, is not very business savvy (and kind of likes to complain a lot). The baby of the family, 10-year-old Ig, is an adorable oddball with an imaginary friend Robbie. And of course there’s aunt Celia, that one meddling, overly critical and difficult relative whose visits everyone dreads. Colorful family whose (mis)adventures will have you turning the pages of this book faster and faster. I was so engrossed in reading that I even skipped breakfast in order to read the last few chapters. Now that’s what "not being able to put a book down" is all about.
Monica McInerney’s writing was definitely my cup of tea. She created a group of characters that you start wishing you could meet in person. I kept thinking what a fun movie/TV show this story would make. I’d highly recommend this book to all the fans of Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes and Emily Giffin.
Marriage is a one-way street, love. Imagine you are two cars in a narrow alley, bonnet to bonnet. One can’t move any further without the other moving too. If neither of you move, you’re both stuck there forever. But if one you does move – and it doesn’t matter which one does – voila, the road is cleared and you can get back to business. Just don’t keep count of who said sorry first. Don’t get into the habit of saying, “But he never does this” or “He never does that”. As long as one of you is making a movie, that’s all you need to get started.