Monday, January 5, 2015

by Rainbow Rowell

Georgie and Neal are married with two daughters, Alice and Noomi. For years they’ve stretch themselves to the edge of what their relationship can handle. The bulk of the child-rearing has fallen on to Neal with very little contribution from the work-focused Georgie. 

When she backs out of an out-of-town Christmas trip with her family at the last minute to write for a new sitcom, her relationship with her husband hits a wall. When she tries to call her husband later she realizes she's reached him back in 1998, before they were even engaged. She finds herself reevaluating both her marriage and her priorities as she talks with the man she fell in love with so many years ago. 

Most of Rowell's books are about the sweet beginnings of relationships. She writes about infatuation, first love, flirtations and fumbling kisses. Landline is a departure from that. We do see the start of Georgie and Neal's relationship, but it's in flashbacks, not as it's happening, so there's no wondering "will they or won't they?" 

I love that she dove into the messiness of a real marriage in this book. No, I don't think it's quite as charming or lovable as her other work, but I also think that's okay. I trust Rowell enough as an author at this point that I'm along for the ride no matter what she writes. I had lower expectations for this one because of the reviews I'd already read, but I liked it. Either you can embrace the fact that a phone is letting Georgie talk to her 1998 husband or you can't. For me it worked and I liked it because it was less about the phone than it was about the conversations it allowed Georgie and Neal to have. 

BOTTOM LINE: If you love Rowell definitely read this one. Eleanor & Park is still my favorite, but this novel gave her readers a glimpse into how difficult real marriages can be, although we don't all have a magic phone that might let us fix things.


Lori said...

I got this book from Riot Read and just haven't picked it up yet. I haven't read anything by Rowell yet, but this definitely makes me want to give her a try.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Lori - I would start with Attachments. I think Eleanor and Park is her best, so definitely check that one out!

Belle Wong said...

I loved Eleanor and Park, and have this one and Attachments in my to-read pile. I think I'll like Landline!

Jillian said...

I think Rowell isn't for me. I read Fangirl and disliked it a lot. I don't know if I want to read E&P still! But I'm glad you liked this one.

Jeanne said...

I liked what you call "the messiness of a real marriage" in this novel, too.

Meg @ write meg! said...

I have several of Rowell's works waiting patiently for me! E&P was my first read of 2014 and I loved it. Sounds like this one is pretty different, but that can be a good thing!

Andi said...

This one is making me feel guilty from my shelves because it's been there too long. I loved E&P but I didn't love Fangirl, so this one is suffering that slightly negative reading hangover.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain said...

I feel the same way! I read a lot of reviews that were making me nervous, but I ended up really liking this novel. I thought it was very honest and very well-written, as always from Rainbow.

Kailana said...

I bought this immediately and STILL haven't read it... I must get to it!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Belle - Aww, Attachments was my first Rowell. It's a good one!

Jillian - I think Fangirl wasn't for a lot of people, but I would still give E&P a shot. It's in a class of its own.

Jeanne - I did too. It's hard to find that in novels that are still funny in parts.

Meg - It is different and I loved E&P more, but this one is still good.

Andi - I've definitely been there before. Sometimes it's good to give yourself time before trying another one.

Lu - Exactly. It's not a falling in love for the first time story, it's got a lot more depth than that.

Kailana - I was worried I would be disappointed, but I think people were just expecting a YA novel and got something very different.

Bybee said...

This was not one of my favorites.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Susan - I read enough reviews that were negative that I'm sure my expectations were a bit lower.