Author: Rainbow Rowell
Book Title: Landline
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary
Type: Stand Alone
Format: Hardcover, 310 Pages
Publishing Date: July 8, 2014
Summary: “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 beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside 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?” [summary from Goodreads]
My Thoughts: Reading a Rainbow Rowell book is like hanging out with your best friend, they’re comfortable and always seem to fit like your favorite pair of jeans. She has this way of writing that may seem predictable on occasion and may also have some schmoopy romantic moments that bother some people, but nothing about her stories feel like old hat. Each one is fresh and endearing, pulling you in and making you feel at home. I first fell in love with Rowell’s style when I read Fangirl, which is neck and neck for my favorite against Eleanor & Park. They were so perfect that I had to fight my impulse to devour them in one sitting and try to read slower just so they wouldn’t end. Attachments was a bit different for me, probably due to it being an adult fiction, but the differences weren’t negative. It was just a grown up story paired with her comfy way with words and it let me know that no matter which demographic she is writing for, she’s golden.
When Landline came out I snatched it up with greedy hands and dug in. The story is about a woman named Georgie who seemingly has it all. The loving husband, two adorable kids, the beautiful house, and a sweet job as a television writer. However, it isn’t such a cushy world for her because her career takes precedence over her personal life more often than not and her husband has reached his breaking point. He is over waiting around for her to care enough about him and the kids so he decides to take the girls to his mothers for Christmas without her when she says she has to work throughout that week. So, over the course of about a week apart from her family, Georgie begins to unravel as she can’t seem to get Neal on the phone and the question of whether their marriage is truly in jeopardy is looming over her head. Somewhere in the middle of her chaotic predicament, she discovers a sort of magic in her old yellow landline telephone tucked away at her mothers house that allows her to reflect on the past. This sends her on a journey of self discovery and forces her to question everything she ever believed to be true about life, love, and herself, and forces her to figure out how she will proceed from there.
I loved this story for many reasons. First, Rowell’s writing is not just comfortable, she is also really funny. I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this book, probably at things that no one else would even find so funny but some of it just cracked me up. Second, this novel touches on something I am newly familiar with – marriage, and how the combining of two lives isn’t as simple as the “i do’s.” Life is messy and love is messier still. I also loved the characters, even if they did annoy me at times, it was more like being annoyed by someone you love who is doing stupid things and you want to smack them for it. Haha! I mean, Georgie took too long to wake up to the reality of her problems and Neal never laughs so I think he is some kind of robot, and that all just drove me crazy. Seth (her best friend and partner at work) is hilarious and is ever the single guy who just doesn’t get what she’s really dealing with, her mother who is obsessed with her Pugs and dressing half her age, her sister, Heather, who is pretty hilarious too, and then Georgie’s daughters, Noomi and Alice, who are cute and annoying all at the same time, which is also pretty funny. MEOW! Overall, the story was sweet and chaotic and perfectly Rainbow Rowell in all her brilliant-writer-with-a-kickass-name glory. I urge you to read it if you’re a fan of hers, or not, because it was worth it…and if you have read it, please feel free to let me know your thoughts below.
Quotable Moments: “At least he could make sure he was with the right person. Wasn’t that the point of life? To find someone to share it with? And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you loved more than everything else, wasn’t everything else just scenery?”
“Neal didn’t take Georgie’s breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay—that was really good, actually, to be near someone who filled your lungs with air.”
“How are you?” Delusional. Possibly certifiable. Weirdly happy. “Fine,” Georgie said.”
“Because he didn’t laugh when he thought something was funny – he laughed when he was happy.”