Tuesday, July 15, 2014


by Rainbow Rowell

Genre:  Fiction
Published: 7/8/14 by St. Martin's Press
Pages:  320
Format:  ebook

My rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Having read and enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's past three books (Eleanor and Park, Fangirl and Attachments), I was very eager to get my hands on Landline.  I actually bought it the day it was released, which is very rare for me.  And I wasn't disappointed.  As I have come to expect from Rowell, this was a fun, witty, and enjoyable book.

Landline is about Georgie McCool and her husband Neal.  They have been married for 14 years, they have two kids together, and their marriage is in trouble.  Then Georgie discovers a magic phone that allows her to communicate with her husband in the past, and she is forced to evaluate her life, her career and most importantly, her marriage.

Really, there is a magic phone in this book!  And Rowell, with her trademark wit and charm, manages to make it work in a way that isn't totally cheesy and unbelievable.  Granted, it is unbelievable because magic phones aren't real.  But you just have to be willing to accept the magic phone for what it is...a magic phone!  I read an interview where Rowell was asked about how the phone worked and her response was, "Don't be that guy who is like 'but how did that phone get to be magic?' Just go with it."

It's really a very simple plot.  There's not much more to it than what you read in the official synopsis.  Maybe that's why I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5.  I really enjoyed it, but it didn't overly wow me in any way.  It was a nice story, and one that I can relate to as someone who has been married for more than a decade with two kids.  There were several quotes about marriage that struck me and stand out now in my memory, such as...

"You don't know when you're twenty-three.
You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten - in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn't know at twenty-three."

and also...

“It's more like you meet someone, and you fall in love, and you hope that that person is the one--and then at some point, you have to put down your chips. You just have to make a commitment and hope that you're right.” 

All of Rowell's other books focus on the initial attraction and early stages of falling in love.  I think that is Rowell's greatest strength:  telling real stories about how people fall in love.  Landline is a little different because it starts with a couple who are far beyond the stages of early love and moving dangerously close to falling out of love completely.  Rowell was sneaky though and was able to sneak in many snippets of those early days in love through flashbacks and of course, the magic phone.  I'd say she knows her strengths, and I did think it was interesting to juxtapose those two drastically different periods of life and love, looking at how life changes through 14 years of marriage, a demanding career and two kids.

The characters in Landline felt so real to me, even if they weren't always likeable.  I actually thought these were some of the more unlikeable characters that Rowell has ever written.  Yet, I was still cheering for them in the end.  Their flaws only made the characters seem more real to me.  Even when they were talking on magic phones!  I felt like they could be my friends talking to me. Although I don't think my friends are cool enough to throw around as many pop culture references or speak with such intelligent wit.  

I will definitely add Landline to my list of Rainbow Rowell books to recommend (which includes ALL of her books!).  

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