Review: Landline, by Rainbow Rowell

Landline cover“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 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 him 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 – he is always a little upset with her – 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?”

Okay, how soon is too soon to re-read a great book? I feel like ten minutes after putting it back on my shelf is too soon.

Usually, I’m not the biggest fan of open-ended books, where there are so many loose ends left unresolved. Usually, those books leave me wanting another ten chapters (or hell, even another book) of the characters sorting things out and really, truly getting their happy-ever-after.

This was not one of those books. I mean, yes, there were things left unresolved. But things were wrapped up so beautifully at the end that I just didn’t care: all I wanted was to be left holding that last moment where the characters are having a happy-ever-after moment. And that was what I got.

I read Landline in one sitting. Which isn’t difficult, for me to read a book all in one go, in a few hours over the course of a day, but lately I’ve been in kind of a reading slump. This yanked me right back out after page one.

I’ve only read one of Rainbow Rowell’s books before this one (Fangirl), and even though this wasn’t a YA novel, it was just as flawless. It was seamlessly written, the present and past scenes knitting seamlessly together – you’re left wondering about just enough that you don’t want to put the book down, but you get enough information each step of the way that you’re not left confused for two-thirds of the book.

And the characters. OH, THE CHARACTERS. As an author, I want to meet Rainbow Rowell and grill her as to all her secrets on writing the best characters ever. Seriously, how does she make even the pugs feel that real?!

But I digress. Back to the actual story. So: Georgie is a writer and is about to hit her major break with her best friend and writing partner, Seth; but, it’s Christmas, and if she wants her big break to come off, she’s going to have to ditch the family holiday to her mother-in-law’s house in Nebraska. When her husband, Neal, goes with the kids to Nebraska without her, Georgie is left a total wreck for the rest of the week.

And whether it makes her crazy, or helps her out, she’s got a magic landline in her room back at her mom’s house. A landline that when she calls her husband at his mom’s house, she gets through to her husband from almost twenty years ago, just before they got engaged.

Before you ask: yes, I was kind of (totally) rooting for Georgie and Seth to realise their love for each other because they could be so happy together (I think). And yes, I was totally hoping that wouldn’t happen because Georgie was so in love with Neal that I was desperately hoping for things to work out with them. In present-day, not via the magic landline to the past.

I’m starting to think that I could (and will, if I don’t show some restraint) go on for pages and pages about just how incredible this book was. How enthralling and funny and tense and beautiful and heart-warming and heart-breaking it was. Not necessarily all in that order, but sometimes all at once. So I’ll leave it at this: even if you’re not really into books featuring adult protagonists, THIS IS A BOOK YOU SHOULD READ. If you haven’t read Rainbow Rowell yet: YOU ARE SERIOUSLY DEPRIVING YOURSELF OF ONE OF THE BEST AUTHORS I’VE EVER READ. If you have this book on your shelf and just haven’t read it yet: OR THE LOVE OF GOD, READ IT, AND JOIN ME IN THIS STATE OF ‘holy crap that was so good I want to write a book that good and I want to read another book but how can another book possibly live up to this book’.

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