Book in Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell9:13 PM
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date: July 8th, 2014
Rating: 5/5 stars
WOW. I must say that Rainbow Rowell has done it again!
If written by any other author, this isn't the kind of book I would have picked up on my own (yes, even despite the covergasm) but since I completely adore Rainbow Rowell, I just HAD to read this.
What I appreciate a lot about Rowell's books is how diverse and different they all are. No two books are similar in its story, theme or even setting, and I wanted to point that out especially in the case of her newest one, Landline. Landline is NOT Young Adult like Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, but it is also not completely New Adult like Attachments. It's a mixture of both with a hint of paranormal in the story, and it's because of how these genres all mesh together into this wonderful book that I was able to appreciate more the careful prose Rainbow puts into every story she writes.
This book is a lot darker, sadder, more realistic and less happily ever after compared to her other books (though there is nothing sunshine and happy about Eleanor & Park). It's about Georgie McCool, a driven TV sitcom writer, who deals with the fact that her marriage is crumbling. She still loves her husband Neal very much, as well has her two children, but when she is forced to stay in Los Angeles for work, while Neal and the kids go to Omaha for the holidays, Georgie thinks that this time she has done it. Neal is visibly upset with her and goes to Omaha with the kids anyway, leaving Georgie alone during Christmas. When Georgie discovers a way to communicate with the Neal in the past, she grabs the opportunity to fix her marriage... but can she do it?
This book is first and foremost a love story, but it's not just that. It's a story about marriage, family, friendship, choices and happiness. I liked that the story does not focus just on Georgie falling in love with Neal, but also with how she falls in love with her career, her relationships with her best friend, her mother, her sister and her children, and finding the balance among your priorities in life. The book is well-paced and every single moment is important and necessary to the story. It was also a very realistic portrayal of married life and family, and I appreciated the honesty of it all. The characters are all so well-rounded, and we have to give it to Rainbow for her impeccable way of crafting amazing characters. Even the secondary characters are so distinct, the bit with the pizza girl and the puppies giving birth is one of the highlights of the book for me and these little tidbits make the book even better. The writing is also very crisp and fresh, nothing less expected from Rainbow's top notch writing and effortless narrative. Georgie and Neal's love story is of course the main focus of the book, and it wasn't difficult to ship them at all. Their story is told through bits of the present and the past intertwined together, and it was certainly a unique way to show their story.
Landline is the type of book you have to go into with open eyes. It's not easy to accept that things change and that life gets in the way, but that's the way it is. Sometimes you just have to hit the pause button and really think and try to remember why you chose to be the person you are now, and remind yourself why you wanted this. This is what Landline is about: making choices - whether it's about marriage, career, kids or whatever it may be. Georgie comes to terms with that realization towards the end, with a little help from the past. Which brings me to my favorite part of this book: the ending. I don't want to reveal much, but it was the story going full circle and it was just perfect!
Love is a choice, and I liked how that shone through in the novel. I loved how it was never perfect between Georgie and Neal, and even the ending does not assure us of the lasting relationship between them - but it was realistic, and I just know that they would continue fighting for each other and choosing to be with each other, even if it's hard. And that's what marriage - that's what love - is about.
So whether married or not, you just HAVE to read this book.