Landline is another great novel by Rainbow Rowell, this time focusing on a crumbling marriage and a possibly magical telephone. | A book review by Newbery and Beyond

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 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? (Summary via

When I first picked up this book, I knew very little about it.  I had read Rainbow Rowell’s acclaimed YA novel, Eleanor & Park, but all I knew about Landline was that it was adult fiction rather than YA.  Still, I had pretty high expectations–and I was not disappointed.

In Landline, Georgie is a TV writer whose life is filled with late nights working with her writing partner and mix-and-mingle parties.  Meanwhile, her husband, a quiet, artistic sort, is a stay-at-home dad who knows Georgie’s kids better than she ever will.  And this time, Georgie has gone too far–she and her writing partner have been given the chance of a lifetime to start the TV show they’ve always dreamed of writing, but their new boss requires that the first episodes be written over the Christmas holidays.  So her husband Neal packs up the kids and flies to Nebraska without Georgie.

Rowell is great at describing the little things that make life what it is–the details that feel meaningless, but are packed with meaning if you look at them closely.  Eleanor & Park is filled with this attention to detail, and so is Landline.  Even though I’ve never gone through the decay of a marriage or wondered if the events of many years past may have changed the course of my current life, I felt for Georgie and the situation that she put herself in.

I loved that this book was time travel-esque, without the actual “travel” part.  The landline of the title is an old rotary phone in Georgie’s childhood room.  When Neal and the kids fly to Nebraska without Georgie, she is desperate to get in contact with them, but Neal seems to be screening her calls, and Georgie’s cell phone is falling to pieces.  In desperation, she uses the landline at her mother’s house and gets in contact with Neal–but it’s Neal from their college days.  In fact, it’s Neal from the lost weeks–the weeks after their big fight, the fight Georgie thought had ended everything; the weeks before Neal trekked across the country to propose to Georgie out of the blue.  Now Georgie can better understand what happened during those lost weeks, and whether she should have convinced Neal that she wasn’t right for him before their marriage had a chance to fall apart.

Basically, if any of that plot description catches your interest, and if you love a good attention to detail (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll enjoy this book.  After finishing this book, Fangirl moved up several places on my TBR list.

Rating: Pretty Darn Good

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I'm a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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