Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Landline

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 8, 2014
Hardcover, 310 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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 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? 

Rainbow's books have all been so different that it's hard to compare them. Fangirl's Cath is nothing like Eleanor and Park's Eleanor (or Park) and Lincoln and Beth from Attachments are in a league of their own. So when I met Georgie and Neal, I had no exceptions of them being anything like her other characters and I knew their story would be totally different. They are in a whole different place in life that all her other characters, they are in the part where things get hard and love doesn't come so easy. You have to work at it if you want to make it work and I loved that she wrote a book about a marriage falling apart and trying to pick up the pieces. It hurt to read it, a lot of parts reminded me of my boyfriend and I, but part of me knew if I got through the rough parts, there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. Rainbow captures the downside to falling in love, the aftermath of those cute moments where you finally found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, and it was sad and it hurt, but it was more real than anything else I've ever read from her.

Georgie is the bread-winner in the family, having her own TV show and letting Neal stay home with the kids. She has always put her job first and she decides to do it again at Christmas, choosing to stay and work instead of going with Neal to visit his family. She doesn't think it will be that bad, until he leaves without her and she can't seem to get a hold of him on his phone while he's gone. Torn between her job and her family, Georgie ends up at her mom's house, eager for some sense of comfort. One night she picks up her mom's landline and tries Neal again. This time she gets through, only she's talking to a Neal from the past, from when they first started dating and were at a point in their lives when they were trying to decide if they would get married. Through talking to him in the past and flashbacks from their early lives together, Georgie pieces together their relationship in a way that makes her wonder if she made the right choice staying with him. The further she falls from Present Neal, the more she reverts to her old self with Past Neal and forces herself to make a decision - stay or go?

The phone calls were my favourite. I love the reminiscent feeling when Georgie begins falling for her husband all over again. Rainbow captured so many feelings in these 300 pages and I had felt everyone of them. In a short period of time, I felt how Georgie fell in love, stayed in love, and ever so slowly, started falling out of it. Then I watched as she tried to fix it, maybe too late, but tried nonetheless. The pace was perfect, the flashbacks were right where they needed to be, and Rainbow made me root for Georgie and Neal the whole way through. This read differently than her other books, but I enjoyed it just as much as the rest. It would be the perfect Christmas book (or movie) and the magic phone gave it just enough extra magic to make me fall in love. It somehow seemed very realistic in the book and I love how Rainbow talked about it, not believing it as much as Georgie didn't. This book captured all the obstacles that couples face, married or not, and those moments where you're not sure you've made the right choice in life. Rainbow's writing is perfect - funny, sad, and heartwarming all at once and I fell more in love with her as I fell in love with her characters. This book may be hard for some people to read, those who are experiencing what Georgie and Neal are going through, but it's worth it to try and find that happy ending.

"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."

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