I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on 07/08/2014
Genres: Adult, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.
Maybe that was always besides the point.
Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.
When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .
Is that what she’s supposed to do?
Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
I always find Rainbow Rowell’s books the most difficult to review because how can I adequately express my feelings for books that move me so much. It’s the same with Rowell’s newest book, Landline, an adult (mostly) contemporary (with a magic phone!) about a married woman trying to work things out with her husband. I’m going to do my best here, but I know I’m not going to be able to adequately explain why everyone should read Landline.
Landline is a bit different from Rowell’s previous three books (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Attachments). I personally don’t see a lot of crossover appeal for teens who’ve loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, unlike Attachments, which I think teens would like a lot. That’s not a bad thing, at all, of course. Just something to note.
Initially, I found Landline a bit melancholic. It’s clear that Georgie and Neal’s (her husband) marriage isn’t perfect, and that they’re having issues right now. As a big reader of romance, where the book ends on the marriage (or the “I Love You”), seeing Georgie’s and Neal’s Happily Every After being not so happy made me very sad. Because as much as I love romances, I know that endings like that aren’t exactly realistic. But, that said, even as sad as Landline started, I couldn’t stop listening. I was immediately captivated in Georgie and Neal’s story.
I felt Georgie’s conflict between going to her husband’s mother’s place in Omaho for Christmas, and doing what’s best for her career, a career that’s very important to her. I feel like women have that conflict much more than men, and I really enjoyed reading about the struggles going through Georgie’s mind. Rowell did such a wonderful job showing how it isn’t really black and white. Georgie isn’t a terrible parent and wife because she wants her career to succeed, but she’s not an awful work partner because she wants to spend Christmas with her family.
But my favorite part of Landline was definitely the time we get to see of Georgie and Neal in college. I loved those flashes, seeing how Neal and Georgie met, seeing how they finally got together, and it let me get to know Neal so much more. Neal, as a character, was fascinating. He keeps so much to himself, and it’s obvious how much he cares for Georgie. But it is also obvious how much Georgie cares for Neal. I absolutely loved seeing how well Georgie knew Neal, even though Neal keeps his thoughts to himself so much.
The whole magic phone thing that lets 30-something adult Georige talk to barely out of college Neal was interesting, and I love their conversations over the phone, but more than anything I love how it led to the flashbacks to their college years.
Although Landline has a somewhat different feel from Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, it still felt very much a book by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell made me feel so much for Georgie and her whole family. Rowell has yet to disappointment me, and although Landline didn’t quite make Eleanor & Park Status, it is an amazing book, and you should all read it! So there 🙂