Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: a hardcover provided by the publisher for an honest review

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?

It's official, folks. Rainbow Rowell is amazing. If you don't remember, I fangirled over her Fangirl. While I still haven't read Eleanor & Park, I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful finished copy from the publisher. Boy, I'm grateful. 

I used to read mostly all adult books (because I didn't know how great YA could be), but ever since blogging, I've barely read any adult novels. If I have, I'm sure it's been only rereads. Landline made me want to go scour for uncovered treasures again. Because this rocked. 

After doing another fingerling session over Rowell, the main question now is how did it rock? 

  1. Georgie. She is a completely flawed human being. She's a workaholic, has a reputation of siding with her coworker (and male and ONLY best friend) over her poor husband, and just makes poor choices. She's not portrayed as a young, perfectly put together writer and middle aged mother. She "lost" herself and as a result, her hair isn't too great and she's put on weight. Yet, while she's way older and in a completely different situation than I am, she's absolutely relatable. I had to remind myself that she was older (but in a good way, it wasn't like Rowell sounded too young). There was sympathy and I felt like we became friends, just like I did with Cath from Fangirl.
  2. Neal. I knew it. All fictional Neals are good. Exhibit A: Neal from Once Upon a Time. Exhibit B: Rowell's Neal. He may have a barrier around him (at least in flashbacks, oh glorious flashbacks), but he's adorable. I wanted to marry him. He's a geeky artist-turned-father. He's frustrated with Georgie and especially with Seth, but he's supportive.
  3. Flashbacks. Remember those flashbacks I talked about? Well, along with the time machine phone, we're also treated to Georgie's flashbacks. To me, they were crucial to the story. They helped us understand everyone's backgrounds and the evolving feelings, assisting in where our sympathies lie. 
  4. MAGICAL PHONE. I'm a sucker for time machine books. They're not always good, but I give props to an author for making a somewhat-trope into their own plot. Yes, I may screamed at Georgie once or twice to do a sensible thing she wasn't thinking about, but I enjoyed her journey in discovering it, using it, and deciding what to do. 
  5. Rainbow Rowell. I can't help it, I'm a total fangirl of her writing. She's one of the best third person narrative writers, in my opinion. 
I think Rowell's books are one of those love 'em or hate 'em books. Not everyone will be crazy for them, but she can definitely create a cult following. She manages to give the main characters—Georgie, Neal, and Seth—such LIFE, but still create so much personality for the supporting characters—like her sister and mother. 

Verdict: St. Martin's Press and Rainbow Rowell need all the celebratory food NOW.


  1. I've heard such great things about Landline! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.


  2. YES I'm so glad you liked it! I really, REALLY want to get my hands on this, because I've read ALL of Rowell's books and absolutely loved them (well, maybe not Attachments but it was still pretty good). I'm so glad this met your expectations! AND MAGICAL PHONE. I really can't wait to see how that's executed!

  3. I've heard of this book but I was hesitant to get it... I think I should!

    1. PS I've nominated you for the Sunshine Award! (visit my blog for the deets)

  4. This was definitely an amazing book! And funny that you should mention Neal from Once Upon a Time- I kept seeing the actor's face whenever his name came up, haha!

    Anyway, great review!

  5. Oh yes, I definitely liked Landline! It was an interesting take on a marriage in trouble, and I liked seeing how Rowell took it on :)

  6. EEEEEP! This is THE REVIEW I helped motivate you into writing, and you helped me with Something Strange and Deadly! <3 (2 very different types of books, might I add... lol!)

    I've only read Rowell's YA books, so I definitely need to read her Adult ones too. (Because I LOVE her!). I'm starting with Attachments first though. Oh, I had NO IDEA Rowell dabbled with magical realism until reviews of Landline started pouring out; it'll definitely make for an interesting read. I've read a few reviews where the reader had trouble connecting with this element in the book. I hope it works for me -- now that I know what to expect! I think I'm mostly looking forward to meeting Georgie and Neal; they seem like a memorable pair. :)

    I LOVED your review, Summer! Sweet and to the point!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  7. I LOVE RR, but for some reason I'm hesitant to pick up this book. I think the Magical Phone is getting to me, because it's really a contemporary story besides that. Putting unexplained fantasy elements into a book that's otherwise modern is a little tricky for me. I do love a flawed protagonist and the fact that this is a story of a married couple. Neal sounds GREAT, though I wish we spent more time with present Neal than the past one, and I've heard rumors of Georgie's best guy friend causing troubles, which makes me nervous too. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! I just need to pick this up. Sometimes I totally over think things. Glad this was a win for you.

  8. The magical phone bit scares me, not gonna lie. I LOVED Fangirl, but I only liked E&P and Attachments (another adult novel from RR that you would more than likely fangirl over, lol). I'm not saying I don't like RR's style, but I don't always LOVE it, ya know? I'm glad that you really enjoyed this one, gives me something to think about. April liked this one, too, even with the weird time machine phone, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it if I only give it a try.