I am sure you all know someone who sends out a family letter every year telling every positive thing that happened with their family over the previous year. You read these things and think one of two thoughts: “Wow, what a wonderful family.” Or, more likely, “Yeah, right, I am sure nothing bad ever happens to them!”
Since Angela Richardson married Nick Gillespie and moved to an Outback Australia sheep station 33 years before, she has sent a letter like clockwork on December 1st of each year. The heading was always “Hello From the Gillespies.“ Her letters told of all the wonderful things her handsome, loving, romantic husband had done for her and how beautiful, funny, and engaging her children are.
The letters became somewhat of an embarrassment for the girls and they stopped reading them, as did Nick. But year 33 changed for Nick and Angela. Life was still a bed of roses, but the thorns had started to cut and scratch and hurt.
So on the day before the letter was to be sent, Angela could not bring herself to write a merry, jovial, all-is-well letter. Instead she writes the truth. And, for her, it is very cathartic. There are problems at home and with the kids. They are not insurmountable problems, but to Angela, they seem to be.
She has no intention of sending the letter; she was just getting things off of her mind. But in the blink of an eye there is an accident and, amid the chaos, the letter is sent. To all 100 people on her e-mail list.
Goodbye, Harmony. Hello, Hurt. After the letter, it seems that nothing will heal the hurt in the family now. Their family is in more of a conundrum that it was before. And Angela has no idea how to fix it. Just when it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel, something terrible happens that takes the entire family to the edge. The question is, will they make it back?
In this sometimes sad, often funny, extremely well-written story, you will often see yourself and your family. No one lives a perfect family life, it is what we make of those imperfections that matter.
And if you love audio books, the audio version of Hello from the Gillespies is performed by Ulli Birvé. She does a wonderful job, not only with the story, but also with the characters. You can tell who is talking just by her differences in inflection. Add to that a wonderful Australian accent, and an amazing story line and you have the makings of a perfect audiobook.
Have any of you read this book? What did you think?
Also, anyone out there write family update letters? Any of you receive them?