Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).
So this week I’m revisiting Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney– first reviewed in February 2015.
‘Hello from the Gillespies’ is the opening line from the Christmas letters that Angela Gillespie has been sending for the past 33 years, describing family life on their Australian outback station – only this year is different.
I suspect we all get those letters at Christmas which make even the most normal family seem dysfunctional as the correspondent regales us with Olympian sporting achievements, around the world holidays and genius level exam results. Angela Gillespies tended to fall into that perfect family category until this year when she decided to tell the truth. Unfortunately fate stepped in and the cathartic letter written to get things out of her system was accidentally sent.
Of course not only do the 100 friends and neighbours read the letter, but more critically the immediate family members who are the cause of Angela’s disquiet. The daughters and their disastrous relationships and lack of focus, her weird son, the demanding critical aunt and Nick, the husband she fears no longer loves her leading her to fantasize about how life might have been with her first love.
Needless to say no-one is happy with the disclosures, but again fate steps in meaning they all need to start thinking about Angela rather than themselves. No spoilers so you need to read the book to find out.
I enjoyed this book and the characters in it. The daughters were an annoyingly immature bunch, but I suspect their actions were as much a result of being constantly indulged rather than deliberate selfishness. They certainly started to sort themselves out when things became critical and they were forced to look at themselves and their lives. Ig the son, is not so much weird as confused and lonely and I actually liked him and the way his character developed. It was touching to see the relationship he had with his mother/Angela which was instrumental in bringing things to a head. Nick was very much a product of his upbringing and kept things bottled up. He clearly loved his family and wanted to do what was best, but was left floundering in the situation he found himself in. Instead of admitting he was clinically depressed he, found diversionary interests that created a bigger barrier between himself and Angela.
As well as offering an insight into family dynamics and how things can quickly change once the lynchpin is removed. It also offered an interesting look at life in the outback and the very real challenges faced by those living on the stations. While dealing with serious issues, it was on the whole still an entertaining and lighthearted read and I’d happily recommend it.