Review by K.T Sullivan
After thirty three years of Christmas letter writing, Angela Gillespie is stumped. She sits at her computer and thinks of her family in disarray. Instead of the usual cheery note, she pours out her heart about her family and life in general. Their missteps, secrets, and embarrassments fill the page. No one is spared, even herself. She steps back and imagines her life if she never left London for Australia and married her boyfriend, Will and had the perfect daughter, Lexie. When she finishes, there is a family emergency and she rushes her son to the hospital. Later in the day, her husband notices her letter is sitting on the computer waiting for her return. He decides to do Angela a favor and hits send. The letter is on its way to over one hundred inboxes. By the time Angela realizes the mistake, the responses are piling up. All are positive congratulating her on her honesty and humor. Her family, on the other hand, is mortified. How could she? As the weeks go on, each one acknowledges she’s right and starts making moves to change. Angela suffers from headaches and goes to a specialist for help. She’s in a serious car accident and forgets reality. Her mind settles in her fantasy world with Will and Lexie at her side. Her family is at their wit’s end until she recovers. What will they do if she doesn’t come back to them?
This story is funny and sad. The letter reveals so much of what Angela wants to say to her husband and children, but doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. Moms should only heap praise and encouragement on their families, not point out the flaws. It’s a very realistic and human story. Angela is torn between duty and truth. After years of reading Christmas letters, I’d love to receive one like Angela’s because it’s easy to relate to her worries and concerns.
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About the Author:
Monica McInerney is the Australian-born Dublin-based author of the best-selling novels Hello from the Gillespies, The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Those Faraday Girls (The Faraday Girls in the USA), Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Spin the Bottle (Greetings from Somewhere Else in the USA), Upside Down Inside Out and A Taste for It; the novella Odd One Out and a short story collection All Together Now, published internationally and in translation. Her articles and short stories have appeared in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Australia, the UK and Ireland.
Monica, 49, grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, where her father was the railway stationmaster and her mother worked in the local library. Since then Monica has lived all around Australia (in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart) in Ireland (in County Meath and Dublin) and in London, and has also travelled widely.
She was a book publicist for ten years, working in Ireland and Australia and promoting authors such as Roald Dahl, Tim Winton, Edna O’Brien and Max Fatchen and events such as the Dublin International Writers’ Festival.
She has also worked as an event manager and organiser of tourism festivals in the Clare Valley; as a freelance writer/editor and in arts marketing in South Australia; a public relations consultant in Tasmania; a record company press officer in Sydney; a barmaid in an Irish music pub in London and as a temp, grapepicker, hotel cleaner, kindergym instructor and waitress. Her first job out of school as a 17-year-old was as wardrobe girl (and later scriptwriter) for the children’s TV show Here’s Humphrey at Channel 9 in Adelaide. She is now a full-time writer.
For more than 20 years, she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently live in Dublin.
Connect with the author at:Website * Facebook * Twitter
Penguin books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Hello From The Gillespies!