Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: Hello from the Gillespies

One should not be put off by the 600+ pages of this book. Despite its heft, it is really quite a quick read. This book brings the reader into the lives of the Gillespies, an Australian family living on a remote sheep station in the outback. Matriarch Angela Gillespie is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with her life. Her husband is becoming more distant, her children are facing various minor disasters. All of Angela's thoughts are accidentally emailed to her friends and family in a brutally honest Christmas letter. How the family handles the fallout is part of the book, until a car accident leaves Angela with amnesia and without her identity. 
The second part of the book is surreal. Angela is living with her family but thinks they are strangers, and the doctors encourage the family to play along. 

I was very into this book up until the amnesia. Once Angela got amnesia everything became quite predictable. We know that Angela isn't going to remain unaware of her identity forever, which means that there are only so many directions the book can go. The first half of the book was much stronger. I've heard McInerney compared to Maeve Binchy, and I can certainly see the resemblance in this book. McInerney can seamlessly enter the minds of numerous characters and weave their stories together into a broader saga. 

My main complaint with this book? Someone needs to throw Lindy to the wolves (or the snakes, or the rabid kangaroos, or whatever). Is it possible for an adult to be that whiny? Seriously Lindy, nobody cares about cushions. Nobody. Shut up, and quit whining. 

Those thoughts aside, this is a relaxing, feel-good sort of book. Definitely cozy.

Monica McInerney, Hello from the Gillespies (NAL, 2014).

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