“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 besides the point now.
Maybe that was always besides 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.” ~Goodreads
Landline (July 8, 2014) is Rainbow Rowell’s fourth novel but second attempt at Contemporary Adult Fiction, the first being Attachments, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Heck, I’ve enjoyed her other two as well, written for young adults. Rowell knows her audience well but her style, language and character development never waivers regardless of the genre.
What I liked most about this book (and all of her books) is that she writes about real, flawed, awkward, nerdy people. People who carry on actual conversations. People who love each other for their strangeness. No insta-love, but genuine relationships that will stand the test of time because they are built on something more than looks and status.
“Neal didn’t take Georgie’s breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay-that was really good, actually, to be near someone who filled your lungs with air.”
Regarding the dialogue between characters, there is nothing profound said and the use of language is not ground breaking. Rowell just has a way of capturing moments between people that are as endearing as they are humorous. It’s what I am most excited for when opening one of her books. I might not always like the characters but I LOVE the way in which they communicate with one another. I truly enjoy listening in on their fictitious banter.
“‘What’s the point of making a nice guy like me?’ Georgie said. ‘Nice guys like everybody.’
‘You shouldn’t have to make anybody like you, Georgie. You should want to be with somebody who can’t help but like you.’
‘Nothing good is easy.’
‘Not true,’ Ludy said. ‘Sleep. TV. Jell-O Instant Pudding.'”
So, Georgie and Neal end up together, get married and have a family. But Georgie’s career is successful. In fact she could never imagine not working or not following her dream of being a writer with best friend Seth. They’ve been best friends for years, long before Neal was in the picture. She worked so hard to follow her dream and make it happen that when her and Neal decide to have kids, it’s Neal who ends up staying home to raise the girls while Georgie works. I haven’t read that story line before and it was refreshing and empowering for young women as well as for stay-at-home dads who know the stigma of being the sole caretaker as opposed to breadwinner. Very well played out!
The last part of this unique story that I really enjoyed was the conversations between Georgie and Neal that took place on a telephone. Real talking. No texting. On a landline with the long tangled up cord and rotary dial. It also brought me back in time (as it was for them) to when I first met my husband and we would spend that dating period getting to know each other more on the phone. Late night conversations. Whispering so you wouldn’t wake your family. Having to scream to your mom that you had the phone when you got a call so she would hang up the extension. Listening for that click of the receiver knowing she wasn’t listening in. Snuggling under blankets and laughing about something silly or deep in a convo about life, hopes and dreams. Calling over and over, desperate to get through when you got a busy signal. Actually planning out a time to sit down and talk because you only had one line and if you missed the call that was it. It was nostalgic and utterly perfect in the way she wrote it. I feel terrible for all the younger generations who never had that experience and never will.
I’m honestly going to look for a vintage rotary phone with the long tangled cord and put it in my kitchen. My kids will think I’m nuts, but I want one now. Oh, and call your friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, children, parents, etc. Skip the text and actually call them.
I received this galley at BEA this year and was not compensated nor required to review the novel. Quotes might be changed in the final copy.