Hello from the Gillespies (★★★☆☆)

Hello from the Gillespies

I am confused by this book: I liked it, but…I didn’t like it. First off, it has no business being as long as it is–or as serious as it becomes. The book starts off as easy chick-lit, all romantic comedy and lighthearted drama with simple solutions, but then turns into something much more somber. Honestly, when the first round of minor, slightly generic problems were more or less resolved, I thought to myself, “Well, that’s done, and now the book is probably almost over.” But I looked down at my Kindle and realized I was only THIRTY percent through the book! Huh?

Turns out, about 200 pages in, McInerney essentially begins a second novel within her novel. Yes, some of the lightheartedness remains, but yowza, the plot takes a surprising and surprisingly serious turn. I was completely shocked by what happens to Angela–and Nick, too, for that matter. I was even more shocked by how deep McInerney digs her heels in with these plot points. She really commits to telling their stories and, my God, the reader becomes VERY familiar with every. little. daily happening in these characters’ lives.

On the one hand, I applaud McInerney for so fully dedicating herself to telling a tale she obviously loves. I was entertained and truly surprised by her cleverness and creativity. I definitely felt invested in and curious to know more about the story and how it would end. On the other hand, slugging through this tome was a formidable experience–and, truth be told, an only partially rewarding one. Despite the length of this book, I so wish that McInerney had spent more time on real character development–not just relaying events or communicating plot points. I wish she had given me more with less–more like a focused vignette than a play-by-play of daily life.

As is, the book is engaging at parts but also incredibly slow. I did want to know how the story resolved, so I kept on until the bitter end. But it felt like a chore–which is an unfortunate feeling to feel after investing so much time and energy into a book.

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