A Reader Opines: Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney #review #books

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Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
Expected Publication: November 4th 2014 by NAL
Genre: Women’s Fiction | Contemporary | Mainstream
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

You could say I’m an epic fail when it comes to reviewing books for Netgalley. Too often I request a book, get approved and end up not reading said book or begin reading and can’t bring myself to finish. It is with a happy heart that I tell you, I requested, was approved and read Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney.

Summary taken from Goodreads:
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 Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways…

Where do I start? There are so many things about this book that I loved that it’s difficult to contain my excitement and give you an unbiased assessment.

Hello From the Gillespies is marketed as a contemporary women’s fiction novel, but in my opinion it leans more toward mainstream simply because it contains the point of view of a man. The majority of the book is told from and relates to the life experiences of women, however the inclusion of Nick Gillespies’ thoughts and experiences adds another dimension to the overall story.

McInerney has expertly weaved a tale of family dynamics and human failings. Using multiple points of view, the story unfolds with eloquence, like a flower emerging from a bud into fullness, each petal contributing to the overall beauty. Plot points and pinch points were revealed with finesse. The major ones were unexpected, but some of the minor ones were easily foreseen.

The characters are credible and flawed. It didn’t take long for me to forget they were characters and see them as living, breathing people. They frustrated me, inspired me, made me laugh and cry but never once did they bore me.

My favorite aspect of this book is the atmosphere. McInerney transports the reader with unobtrusive descriptions, dialogue and internalization. When forced to close the book to attend to real world chores, it took a while to remember my place on earth, like when you move into a new house and you have to adjust to the changes. The Australian Outback clung to me, enticing and seductive.

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because I did anticipate some of the twists. That seems a bit narrow-minded of me, but I’m stingy with those five stars because I’m a writer. It makes one more critical of the stories we read. Don’t let that stop you from reading Hello From the Gillespies. It is manna for book lovers.

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