Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Landline

By Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 8, 2014

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 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 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?

My review:

While I kind of liked this book I was also a little disappointed with it. The main character is so selfish and I struggled to like her or relate to her. I did appreciate the honesty with which marriage is portrayed as well as the difficulties in trying to balance a demanding career with family life. I liked the flashbacks of the young Georgie and Neal as well.

I think the idea of the story is a good one but it just didn't work for me because the adult Georgie is too hard to like. The story ended up being about two people who maybe shouldn't have gotten married in the first place and you can't help but feel sorry for them and their children and wish they could find some common ground. I was left feeling that things weren't really fixed between them but maybe that just makes it more realistic (aside from the magic landline phone). There are some moving moments and at least Georgie seems to figure out what is important by the end of the book.

Overall I think I just prefer the author's teen fiction over her fiction for adults. Eleanor and Park was so heartfelt and beautifully written that this book just pales in comparison. I thought with Attachments that it was a good first effort and that any flaws were due to it being her first book but after reading Landline I realized her teen fiction is much better (in my opinion) and I hope she continues to write more of that. 

While Landline did not live up to my admittedly high expectations, that doesn't mean I didn't like it at all or that you shouldn't give it a try. It did receive mostly positive reviews from professional review publications after all. For those who are new to Rainbow Rowell's books however I would suggest starting with her teen fiction. For readers looking for similar contemporary books for adults, I'd suggest trying What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

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