Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.
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?
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.
Landline is one of those books that I find the hardest time putting into words just why I loved it. Lately, I have found myself searching for books that focus on a couple that has long since fallen in love; not those that are actively falling. Having been with the same guy for almost a decade, I find myself easily relating to characters that are dealing with the less than pretty side of love.
Things didn’t go bad between Georgie and Neal. Things were always bad—and always good. Their marriage was like a set of scales constantly balancing itself. And then, at some point, when neither of them was paying attention, they’d tipped so far into bad, they’d settled there. Now only an enormous amount of good would shift them back. An impossible amount of good.
From the moment they fall in love- to present day- when Neal takes the kids to Omaha, there is always this delicate balance of the roles they play as individuals and as a couple. Between Georgie’s dedication to her job, Neal raising their children, and the fact that both of them separately are two different people, Georgie and Neal are in this fragile state. It isn’t until Georgie somehow contacts Neal (from the past) through her magical landline telephone, that the dynamic between them shifts.
Maybe Georgie had gotten a glimpse of it then, the way infinity un-spooled from where they were swaying. The way everything she was ever going to be from then on was irrevocably tethered to that day, that decision.
With the added insight into the past, Georgie is left contemplating about the state of their relationship today. What if they never got together? Would Neal be happier? The “what-ifs” play a role in how Georgie handles her communication with Neal (from the past) and what transpires is a lovely and sometimes heartbreaking look at marriage, love, friendship and family.
“You don’t know when you’re twenty-three.
You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten – in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn’t know at twenty-three.”
Between the dialogue, the pop culture references, and the moments filled with joy or devastation, there is something special about Georgie and Neal. Neal is a kind of a grump and Georgie is always spreading herself thin but it works. They are perfectly imperfect. Even with a magical telephone, Landline felt so real. If the amount of page markers I used while reading isn’t any indication of how much I love this book, well then I don’t know what is.
My first and only experience with Rainbow Rowell was with Attachments (no, I haven’t read Fangirl or Eleanor & Park….yet BUT they are the top of my TBR) and she has such a way of writing about something so small (a look, a touch, a feeling) yet so powerful. I could literally quote 100 different moments that tugged at my heart-strings and left me with tears in my eyes.
How could she ever doubt that he loved her? When loving her was what he did better than all the things he did beautifully.
Landline is a beautiful, funny and sometimes painfully honest portrayal of love and second chances. The only thing I was left wanting was more of a resolution to the story. Not necessarily between Neal and Georgie, but the state of how they left things felt rather abrupt. I still have questions about what happened with View Spoiler »Georgie’s career, the status of her friendship with Seth, etc. « Hide Spoiler. It would have been nice to see how those things played out but I have a feeling maybe that was the point. In real-life you don’t get to jump to the happy ending. You just try your hardest and hope for the best.