Hello from the Gillespies is scheduled for publication, November 4, 2014.
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It is hard to know where to begin with a review for Hello from the Gillespies, by Monica McInerney, as there was so much to enjoy about this story. When Angela Gillespie sits down to write her annual Christmas letter, just as she has done every year for the past thirty-three years, she is overcome with frustration and hurt. Rather than write her typical missive, one that tells only good news, Angela takes the opportunity to vent. She is frustrated with her grown children who can’t seem to get things in order, with the fact that her ten-year old son still has an invisible friend, and with her husband, who has been ignoring her. Angela has no intention of sending her letter out. But when her youngest is hurt in an accident, she must rush him to the nearest hospital many miles from her family’s outback sheep station. Shortly thereafter, she is surprised when she begins to receive email responses to her letter, and she is devastated to learn that several readers have even passed the letter on to their friends. Angela knows she cannot keep the secret from her family forever, and when her husband and children learn the truth about what she has been thinking and feeling, she has a lot of questions to answer. So, what will they do when later, Angela suffers from confabulation, a condition whereby she forgets her real life and believes that the fantasy-life she’s been living in her mind, is real?
Hello from the Gillespies tells a tale that could certainly happen and does so with heart. I don’t know if it is a consequence of reaching a “certain age,” but it seems there comes a time in life when the surface truths are not enough—when a person longs to just tell it like it is. Oh, but the consequences can be troublesome! In this story, readers will find out the many ways that truth can be hurtful—and healing.
The characters in this story were fully fleshed out and their relationships every bit as complicated as family relationships can be in real life. I appreciated the willingness of Angela’s family to pull together, and their ability to find understanding . . . and healing . . . and forgiveness. Hello from the Gillespies had me at “Hello” and entertained me all the way through to “The End.”