Sunday, September 14, 2014

[Review] Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 31/07/2014
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher for review
Genre: Adult // Magical Realism

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

Book Tunes
Lily Allen - Littlest Things

My Rating: 
Delightful read
My thoughts

This was my first venture into Rainbow Rowell's writing so any of my expectations were established by the enormous amount of buzz, hype and love that surrounds this author. Of course, much of that buzz, hype and love is directed towards her young adult titles, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, but her adult books have also received much praise. 'Landline' was a delight to read, and it invites the reader to question what they would do in that situation: if you had a magic phone that could somehow contact someone from the past, would you try to fix things?

Georgie McCool, a comedy TV writer, married with two kids, has finally gotten her BIG BREAK. Her, and her long-time partner-in-crime slash fellow-comedy TV writer, dream show may finally get to become a reality! But when that means that she'll be staying behind to work on the script for her new show to meet deadlines while her family goes to Omaha...? Neal, her husband, is not pleased, but then again he hasn't been for a long time. Neither of them have. The love that was once there has fizzled, and Georgie would give anything to fix things, find out where exactly they went wrong. Neal coolly dismisses her and leaves with the kids. Distraught and disheartened, Georgie eventually goes to her childhood home only to find that her childhood phone, a yellow rotary, connects her to her Neal, the Neal from the past...

I kind of saw the magic phone as a physical and fantastical representation of the main character sifting through her memories and trying to figure out how things went wrong. Kind of like her brain just... snapped, and the sort of psychiatric haze that she's put herself in after her husband leaves with their kids to Omaha for the Christmas without her (because she's just landed the chance of a lifetime with work) was interesting to explore and follow. I loved the utilisation of the phone, and it made for some hilariously awkward moments between present-Georgie and past-Neal. I think that Rowell succeeded in maintaining a good balance the realism and magical aspects of the book. I haven't read much chick lit, but of the ones I have read, Rowell gets the balance just right.

I adored the tension between Georgie and Seth. (Spoilers ahead!) [[[They're so close, yet there's always been that boundary between them. They've got this history; in the past, before Neal, everyone thought they were going to end up together, and I kind of WANTED them to get together (even though it isn't the "right ending"). Rainbow Rowell infuses this arc with bittersweet feelings, regret, longing, and it really agreed with me. I prefer how she leaves the two of them at the end of the story too.]]]

As for Neal himself... I just don't know. I think it's endearing the way that she got to meet him and their story is adorable, but as for him... I guess I just don't understand him. He was also kind of a bland character and not very likeable at all. He has his moments though, and more importantly, THEY have their moments.

I guess I should talk about the writing. It was accessible, easy to read, succinct. Could have done with a lot more description (I can't really place the story anywhere because it felt like it was set in a vacuum), but for this kind of novel I'd definitely choose story over setting, if I can't have both.

While Landline most certainly did not touch me deeply (nor will it be appearing on my top 14 of 2014) I do have to remember that I am probably not the target audience for this book. I feel like the overall messages of the book will be much more powerful for readers who have been married, or have been in a long-term relationship and it has, for some reason or other, gone sour, and there's that longing to have the sweetness back. Landline has an adorable story with some fun characters, which makes for a light and fluffy read that is just right for the upcoming holiday season.


First line: Georgie pulled into the driveway, swerving to miss a bike.


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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