Look at me! posting twice in one week! Hooray!
Okay, so, in case you’ve never looked at my Book List, I am a HUGE fan of Rainbow Rowell. I’d read everything else she’d written already when I spotted a used copy of Landline on sale at my favorite thrift shop. I scooped it up and read the whole thing while traveling for a family event a few weekends ago.
As always, Rainbow Rowell’s writing is fast-paced and personal. Rowell’s word choice creates scenes that are honest and emotional and descriptive; I often find myself falling into her stories fully and kind of dwelling within them until I finish the novel. Landline was no different.
The main character, Georgie McCool, has the best name ever. She also has a husband, Neal, who she has grown apart from as her career as a television comedy writer has taken off over the years. Georgie quickly met and fell in love with Neal in college, but not before befriending her future business partner, Seth. Neal and Georgie now have two little girls and a house in Calabasas, all of which Georgie barely ever sees because she’s always at work with Seth.
Seth and Georgie are trying to score an awesome new TV show gig, and they get the green light to move forward just before Christmas. As a result, Georgie has to skip christmas with her husband’s family in Omaha in order to work in LA. This drives a wedge even further between Georgie and Neal, and Neal flies off to Omaha with the kids and stops answering Georgie’s calls.
Georgie retreats to her own mother’s housefor the week, and discovers that the old rotary phone in her childhood bedroom has transformed into some kind of time-travel device. When Georgie tries to call Neal on it, she doesn’t get “her” Neal. She gets the Neal she knew back in college, when they’d just fallen in love and just had their first big falling out.
For the next few days, Georgie dives into the origin of her relationship with her husband via this magical landline. We get to see how Georgie and Neal met, how they fell for one another, and how they grew apart over the years. And, as per Rainbow-Rowell’s usual, there are a few moments of zainy fun in there, like when Georgie’s mom’s pregnant pug gives birth in the dryer.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book. That said, it lacked some of Rowell’s signature depth and, well, sexiness. Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, and Attachments all followed these deeply damaged but also deeply relatable characters. I walked away from all of those books feeling like my soul had been nourished somehow. And the moments of romance and closeness in those novels were all so, so memorable and beautiful.
Landline was fun and original. Don’t get me wrong; it was silly and laugh-worthy and I loved every minute of it.
But it wasn’t Cath and Levi’s slow, purposeful progress towards love in Fangirl. It wasn’t Lincoln’s longing in Attachments. And it definitely wasn’t Eleanor’s brave openness in Eleanor and Park.
So, basically, it was good. But not great.
If you’re looking for a romantic beach/airplane read, this would work great! If you’re looking for something with a little deeper, check out any of Rainbow Rowell’s other novels.