TMI issues

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Book Review:  Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

I read somewhere recently that everyone has a public life, a private life, and a secret life. This book is a good example of that. And a good example of what happens when your secret life becomes public.

Angela and Nick live on a sheep station a few hours from Adelaide. Nick has given up most of the sheep, sold exploration rights to a mining company, is obsessing about a family reunion in Ireland, and obviously having a mid-life crisis/break down.

His wife, Angela, who immigrated from England when she married Nick, is confused by his behaviour and their lack of communication, and is basically having her own breakdown in the form of debilitating headaches and failed pottery.

Their four children each have their own crises going on, the older children’s caused by their failed careers and relationships, and the younger boy due to boarding school.

Everything comes to a head when Angela writes a completely honest Christmas letter listing everyone’s problems to blow off steam. The therapeutic missive was supposed to be deleted, but in a mix up, Nick sends it out to 100 or so people. The remainder of the book is basically the family coping with everyone knowing their dirty linen, and in particular, Nick knowing his wife’s fantasy life with another man.

I enjoyed this book for the most, but I did think it could have been a few chapters shorter. Towards the end I was starting to get annoyed by some of the children and their plots. My biggest beef was that I couldn’t connect their apparent ages with their immature actions/dialogue. Lindy, the 3rd daughter who was supposed in her early 30s, bugged me the most. She spoke and acted like a 15 year old going through puberty. Even the 10 year old acted like (and was treated like by the rest of the family) a 5 year old. I have a child around this age, and I found it difficult to relate.

There were moments I really enjoyed the Angela/Nick romance, however, again, I would have liked more of this and less of the sub plots.

Overall though, I’d recommend it. Especially to those who like rural romances, as the use of the Australian landscape/flora/fauna was lovely.

3.5 stars out of 5


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