In my previous working life I worked in public libraries, so was absolutely familiar with Monica McInerney as an author and I knew she was well loved because her titles would forever be placed on hold or were borrowed by patrons. What I didn’t know was that I would love her books. I recently had the pleasure of formally being introduced to Monica McInerney through the eyes of Angela Gillespie and the whole Gillespie family – they are the characters that the story “Hello from the Gillespie’s” centres around.
From the beginning of the story you are welcomed into a friendship with Angela Gillespie, a loving wife, a caring mother, a great friend and budding artist if she could only manage to make her clay sculptures resemble anything other than mounds of clay! Monica McInerney writes in such a way that I felt like I already knew Angela, I was on her side from the very beginning, I understood her, liked her and this made me want to keep reading!
The story unravels as Angela tries to write her annual Christmas email that would reach over 100 recipients and when presented with severe writers block she does what anyone would do – she vents. Angela writes the absolute truth about her family, her worries, hardships and concerns about everything in her life, including her relationship with her husband and children – some are sad, others hilarious and all are absolutely not thoughts anyone would want to publicly announce. While Angela never intends to send the email out, it is a combined effort of an unfortunate event and a kind gesture from her husband Nick that sees the email being sent out, and poor Angela has to find a way to manage the fallout.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that the story’s perspective shifts amongst the main characters. Angela tells the majority, but it’s the voices of her husband Nick, daughters Genevieve, Victoria, Lindy and son Ig who really allow the reader to gain a wider perspective.
It’s a beautiful story of a loving family, living their lives and working through their personal share of issues, hardships and ultimately making life a journey worth taking.