I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
Published by NAL Trade on November 4th 2014
Genres: General Fiction
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 herself—she 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. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....
I thought Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney would be a cute Christmas read with a slice of drama. In that regard, it certainly met my expectation; each character had their own story that intertwined with one another accordingly, and it held a premise that was unique to the genre of holiday stories. However, the individual stories soon became outlandish.
The four Gillespie children, (with the exception of the youngest Ig) had their lives falling apart with a huge lack of direction. Genevieve and Victoria the eldest and also twins, both had affairs that ended with pregnancy scares (one ending with a positive Clear Blue Easy). My mother is an identical twin and while there is something to be said about twin ESP their’s was a little too wacky for my taste. The third daughter Lindy was trying to find her place in the world and started a personalized cushion business. Out of all the ways to be self-employed, breaking into the personalization sewing business seemed the least likely to me and felt like something my Grandmother would do for family members. Plus, Lindy was a whiny baby. Lastly was Ig, he overall seemed to be the most normal of the kids with his only eccentricity being an imaginary friend. Although, as a whole, I really wanted to strangle them and their annoying self-indulging lives as gossips, home-wreakers, and woe-is-me attitudes.
Now on to the parents. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with Nick and Angela being obsessed with their own hobbies (pottery for her, genealogy for him). Anyway, all this nonsense leads to an unflattering Christmas letter. Between this and Angela’s car accident which results in memory loss, each family member must re-examine their lives and discover what is really important.
Hello From the Gillespies could have been a nice Christmas read if it had been cut in half. Mid-way through, the plot became repetitive with constant reminders of the twin’s affairs and Lindy’s online business that was secretly being kept afloat with orders from family members (remember the comment about my grandmother?) Anyway… overall, there were too many eccentric characters with bizarre sub-plots. I had enough investment to finish the novel but would have preferred a novel with calmer waters and was ready to say good-bye to the Gillespies by the novel’s end.