If I had a list of top 10 favorite authors, I’m fairly certain Rainbow Rowell would make the list, and I’ve only read two of her books.
I read Eleanor and Park over a year ago and was enamored with Rowell’s portrayal of two tragic kids falling in love despite circumstance. Soon after marking my book as “read” on Goodreads, I discovered the rest of Rowell’s small collection of work, and I’m happy to say I was equally as charmed by her adult contemporary work as I was with her young adult lit.
Landline explores the marriage between Georgie McCool, a TV comedy writer, and her husband Neal, who after nearly 20 years of being together are once again confronted with the inexplicable differences in their relationship, perhaps more obviously than ever before. Having to stay in Los Angeles to write four scripts of her dream TV show to pitch to a network exec, Neal takes their two girls, Alice and Noomi, to their pre-planned Christmas trip to Omaha sans Georgie. Georgie – unable to get in contact with Neal despite numerous calls – begins to deteriorate with worry, a reaction only heightened by a stay at her mother’s house and a phone call on the landline that leads Georgie to believe that she may have a time machine into the past.
Rowell makes a ridiculous premise seem absolutely plausible with her narration and characterization of Georgie. Georgie’s a refreshing take on the typical wife portrayed in modern fiction: she’s not manic depressive, she’s not cheating on her husband, her husband’s not cheating on her. She is a witty, intelligent woman who fully grasps that she may be going crazy, but knowing full well that what she needs more than anything is her husband and children to ground her and make her feel complete. And how many other novels have female, working mother protagonists whose job is writing for television?
The pacing in this novel is perfect, with Georgie as the lens to her and Neal’s past, present, and future. The memories and worries intertwine expertly and carry the reader along through their lives, and before I knew it, hours had gone by and I was more than halfway through the book. Landline keeps the pages turning without gimmicks, the story wrapping seamlessly throughout the novel.
Landline left me with that warm and fuzzy feeling of content when I was done reading, a feeling that is so rare to find at the end of a book. I love books that make me cry and books that make me gasp, but sometimes you find a rare book that can still move you without the melodrama. Landline is exactly that book, and I fully intend to recommend it to everyone who needs a break from the tragedy and dystopia and just wants a clever, real story about life, love, and everything that gets in the way.
Five out of five stars