Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
This is one of the books that I was really excited to get at BEA this year. I loved Fangirl and couldn't wait to read her latest release. When Flo told me she had to pull the plug after about 16 chapters, I was a little nervous. I'm well aware of the fact that Flo doesn't usually care for books that do not follow a linear path and this is definitely one of them.
Georgie is in her mid 30's and is the mother of two young girls. She works long hours as a comedy writer for a television series while her husband, Neal, is a stay-at-home dad. He does an amazing job of taking care of the girls, the house, cooking, and in general holding the family together. Just before Christmas Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, pitch their dream show to an interested network. Now they need to write a few episodes to present at a meeting just after Christmas. The only problem is that Georgie and her family were planning on traveling to Omaha to visit Neal's Mom for the holiday. Georgie decides to stay in L.A. to work while Neal takes the girls as planned.
Georgie and Neal's relationship has been strained for a while and this may be the last straw. Georgie tries to call Neal's cell phone several times after he leaves, but she can't get through. She finally resorts to using her Mom's landline to call Neal's Mom's landline and miraculously she is able to reach Neal. There is one apparent catch. Neal sounds a lot younger than he does now. He sounds like he did when they first started dating and his Dad is apparently still alive. (He died several years ago.) Rather than finding a time machine, Georgie has a phone that takes her back to Neal as he was in 1998. Will she be able to repair their relationship now that she knows how things play out 15 years later? That is exactly what Georgie attempts to do.
The flashbacks allow the reader to see how Georgie and Neal's relationship developed and where things went off track. The concept of a landline taking one back into the past is an ingenious idea in this cellular world. Much like a Walkman or a VCR, children today probably don't even know what a landline is.
The only complaint that I have about this book is the fact that we don't get to know Neal very well. We witness Georgie's struggles, but we don't know how the separation is affecting Neal. Is Georgie reading more into the situation than is necessary? Is she overreacting? We don't know because we have no idea what Neal is thinking.
The separation is a reality check for Georgie. She begins to realize what is most important in her life and I was happy to see her take action. The ending was perfect, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. If you enjoy Sarah Dessen's books, I would highly recommend Landline.