Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Posted February 19, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 8th 2014
Genres: Adult fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
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Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble;it has 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 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?

Main Points
Writing Style:

Less funny than Attachments, but there were some good moments. It kept switching back and forth between present, past, and then the whole magic phone thing, so it was hard to keep a straight timeline but eh I got used to it.


This book felt strangely important in the end. For the first 2/3 or so, it felt long (like Attachments) and I thought I was only reading it to find out what the resolution would be, not because I was truly enjoying it. And honestly, it wasn’t much of a fun read. It kind of felt like a chore at first. But then things started picking up and potential plot twists kept appearing left and right and I found myself really trying to figure out what the whole message was.

Now, I get the feeling that I’m not really the right audience for the book, so being a little tired of it was understandable. I had no frame of reference for all these marital issues and adult things. But at the same time I feel like that’s why this book was so important for me and, well, helpful. It gave me some insight into what the future may be like and the kinds of things I’ll have to work through. Today’s issues like oh, what college should I go to will pale in comparison to choosing between keeping a great job and being a better wife and mother. Of course, I may not have to make that choice (in my dream future, I don’t have to work) but there will be choices of equal consequence, I’m sure of it.

And Georgie’s big realization may have felt anticlimactic, but it was probably monumental. She wasn’t supposed to change the past. She was supposed to learn from it. And it taught her valuable things about herself and their relationship. It truly is better to talk things out than leave them up to chance. It’s better to communicate, and I think that’s a big deal in all relationships, but sometimes it really can make all the difference in the world.

When I finished this book (at two in the morning), I was left with the general feeling of I have just finished a book that is somehow important to me and my future. I have just learned the answer to many things that I can’t even think about yet. These issues don’t apply to me, but if they do someday, I should have the same strength to be able to truly work through them.

In a lot of literature, and I’m sure a lot of real life, marriages are hard. And I can see why. Living with the same person for decades upon decades can certainly lose its charm. There’s all this talk about spicing things up, keeping the marriage exciting, trying new things, saving the romance, but sometimes it’s much simpler than that. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about going back to the same relationship that you had when you started out with that person. Sometimes it’s about finding a groove where you are both happy, or satisfied at least, and where you can communicate. Where you can be best friends with your partner. The romance may not be the same, but the friendship should still be there. That never gets old.

Now on to the more review-y aspects of the book. The characters. Georgie was cool, I suppose. Seth was exciting, but always felt like a secondary character. I never really fell for Neal, but I could see the way Georgie felt about him and I knew they were meant for each other no matter what happened. Their children were a bit annoying but understandably so. Her mother was distracted, and her sister Heather was surprisingly all right. Eh. I don’t think it was really about the characters anyway. The pacing was a bit slow, but I got used to it. The ending was beautiful. Not everything was really figured out, but it left me in confidence that they would be somehow.

Good vs. Bad
  • plot
  • messages
  • characters
  • writing
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  • pacing
Bottom Line

All in all, this book felt really important. I felt like it taught me things I didn’t need to know yet, but should remember someday. It felt long at first, but when I started realizing what it was teaching me, I didn’t mind. The characters were not extremely loveable, but that wasn’t the point. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this to others? Yes. Everyone.


About Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Overall: four-stars


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