Latest Read: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Category: Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received at BEA
Summary: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her — but that almost seems besides the point now. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show. She knows Neal will be upset with her but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When they leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not exactly time travel 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? (Adapted

My Thoughts
One of my favorite things about Rainbow Rowell is that she never writes the same thing twice. Maybe this sounds obvious but with some writers and their books, you can see a pattern or a formula. But with Rainbow, every book is unique. What is consistent though are her quirky yet relatable characters and her evocative writing. If you think about it, we all have our quirks and I love how she embraces those aspects of a person and writes about it in a way that makes me feel so much. Sometimes the situations or reactions of her characters are painfully real and raw that I almost need to skim over them. (But of course I don’t!)

Landline is about a marriage that seems like it could be falling apart, unless Georgie McCool can fix things. She and her husband Neal are supposed to go to Omaha with their two daughters to spend Christmas with his family. Last minute, she tells him she can’t go because of an opportunity that’s come up. She’s a TV show writer and it seems like she’s finally getting that big break. Truth is, she’s always been a bit of a workaholic while Neal has been a stay-at-home dad. It’s clear these two love each other and they’ve been married for 10+ years but something is wrong. And this fight pushes them over the edge when Neal decides to go to Omaha with their kids and leave Georgie behind to work. At first Georgie brushes it off but as he continues to avoid her phone calls and her mom insinuates that maybe Neal has actually left her that she starts to freak out.

This is when she finds a way to communicate with Neal in the past. This is also the part where you might think Georgie is having some sort of mental breakdown (she wonders this too!). It’s a different twist and a certain suspension of disbelief is required but you know what - I liked it! It’s through this communication that we get glimpse into a similar crossroads they hit years ago but also the deep love between them. We see what they were like before. And it’s because of all this that Georgie starts to reminisce and remember how they first met, how they’ve built their lives together, the way they fit and get each other. I loved hearing about all that. Even though I’m not married, I think every person at one point or another takes a look at their life and wonders - how did I get here? Where did the time go? Is there anything I would’ve changed? Am I happy? Landline asks all these questions and more and it was that, more than anything, that resonated with me.

(Some) Reservations
Because Georgie and Neal are in different states and he’s avoiding her phone calls, there’s no actual direct conflict? So much of Georgie’s grief, confusion and worry is purely internal. I enjoy introspective books but this felt almost too introspective. It was just too much time in Georgie’s head and I wanted more things to happen externally to fix the current mess she’s in. We do see her interact with her family and her writing partner whom she has a whole complicated relationship with too and I really liked that. But I wanted more of it and I definitely wanted more present day Georgie and Neal.

Do I recommend?
I love Rainbow Rowell and I encourage everyone to check out her books. That said, this is my least favorite of the 4 I’ve read but.. it’s still good! I would probably check out her earlier works first before reading this one.

Happy reading!

Landline is also available as an audiobook! Macmillan Audio was kind enough to send me a clip to share with you all:

1 comment

  1. I really enjoyed Landline! It's very different from her other novels, as you've mentioned, but that's definitely not a bad thing. I really liked that this one took an alternative look at love and marriage. I loved the characters a whole lot too!


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