Landline – Rainbow Rowell

LandlineFrom Goodreads.com: 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 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?

Published: July 2014

Why I Chose It: After reading Rowell’s novels FanGirl and Eleanor & ParkI couldn’t wait to read more! I saw this book was coming out and I immediately jumped on the waiting list at the library. :)

The Review:

The best part of this book by far are Georgie’s character. She had all these sarcastic thoughts to herself about the absurdity of her situation. It’s one of those things where I couldn’t really take the situation seriously, but Georgie’s own sarcasm at how unreal everything was just really made everything come together. I don’t think I would have liked the book if it wasn’t for her. I actually really liked her character, and thoroughly enjoyed her inner thoughts and dialogue. Unfortunately I found the rest of the characters very simple, and kept at a fair distance, so I didn’t feel like I could connect with them on any sort of level, but I was definitely glad of Georgie’s character.

The one style effect that I absolutely loved in this book was Rowell’s use of brackets. She uses brackets to emphasize a thought, then a second pair of brackets to emphasize the afterthought to the thought. For example: She had a thought. (Then she had another). (Too many thoughts). It created this internal dialogue effect of Georgie having thoughts and then doubting herself, or when she’s trying to convince herself of one thing only to have her brain tell her it’s not true, but I felt it really helped to show more of Georgie’s character in a simple way. It also helped to raise the level of sarcasm in the book, which I definitely appreciated. I think I liked it so much because it’s a technique I haven’t witnessed a lot when reading, and yet it was really effective in the narrative of the story, and it’s something I would love to experiment with.

While I loved Georgie and her voice, this wasn’t a great book for me. It was a sweet story, but nothing in it wowed me. Nothing was shocking or surprising, and I really only kept reading to get to the end. I didn’t dislike it, I just wasn’t in love with it. I think a major factor was not being able to relate to the characters and situations in the book. I’m only 25, never been married, never had children. A lot of Georgie’s difficulties are coming from her marriage and trying to maintain a work/family balance, and I felt I couldn’t have a true understanding of what that is like. I think the story did an amazing job of conveying what it is like, I just found it hard to empathize with the characters and really get into the story.

I did, however, enjoy the theme of looking back at your own life and assessing your life decisions. Georgie gets to take a hard look at her choices, and she gets the opportunity to make changes. It’s a really interesting way of doing a novel like this, and it was neat to see the love story happen sort of backwards. This is an adult novel, though, and I think it would be better suited for an older audience, but I can’t deny that Rowell is wonderful. I still really enjoyed her dialogue and the sarcasm of the character, and I will definitely be reading more of Rowell in the future.

Finally, bonus points for Lord of the Rings references! :D

Overall Rating: 3 / 5

Main Character: 5 / 5
Secondary Characters: 2 / 5
Pace and Intrigue: 2 / 5

Quotations:

“‘He’s a scowler. He’s the least friendly hobbit in the Shire.” “Stop talking Tolkien to me. All I know is ‘Frodo lives.’ ” p 54

“‘That doesn’t count,’ he said, like he was playing along. (No, I’m the one playing along, Georgie thought. You, sir, are a hallucination.)” p 92

“When were you smiling? No one in your family smiles. You’re a dynasty of wasted dimples.” p 99

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