Review: Landline

LandlineRainbow Rowell, Landline

TV writer Georgie McCool is at a turning point in her life. For several years, she and her best friend Seth have been working on a dumb but popular sitcom, but now they’ve been given a chance to create their very own show. Georgie is thrilled, but her husband Neal is less so: Georgie now has to spend Christmas in L.A. and wants to cancel the family trip to Neal’s mother’s house in Omaha. But instead of deferring to Georgie like he usually does, Neal takes their two daughters to Omaha without her. At first Georgie assumes this is just one of the many small fights they’ve been having lately…but then Neal stops answering his cell, and she can’t seem to get ahold of him. Stunned and grieving, Georgie goes to her own mother’s house for comfort, where she finds an old rotary phone in her closet. She soon discovers that the phone has magic powers: when she uses it to call Neal, present-day Georgie is able to talk to 22-year-old Neal the week before he proposed to her in 1998. Can Georgie use the phone to solve the problems in her marriage? Or will she learn that she was never supposed to marry Neal in the first place?

I’m a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell’s previous books, so it’s no surprised that I devoured this one in two days, albeit with a couple of quibbles. But first things first: I love that Georgie and Neal are already married when the book starts, and I love that they’re having such a common problem. Georgie wants her husband to support her career dreams, while Neal feels taken for granted as the stay-at-home parent, and I could really sympathize with both points of view. I also love the flashbacks to the beginning of Georgie and Neal’s relationship. They really lent a lot of weight to the story, because we know exactly what Georgie will be losing if she can’t find a way to reconnect with Neal. That said, I wasn’t a fan of Seth; he seemed to exist as “the other man” who comes between Georgie and Neal, yet he’s never really presented as a viable option for Georgie, so I just didn’t see the point. I also didn’t like the way that Georgie’s career ambitions seemed to be the sole cause of her marital problems. To me, the message was that she should be willing to give up those ambitions to make her husband happy. But aside from these grumbles, I really loved the book and would definitely recommend it, especially to fans of Rowell’s other books!

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