I always wonder whether it’s a good idea to start with a new-to-me author’s latest novel or go with one of their popular, older novels. I’ve been curious about Rainbow Rowell and Eleanor and Park, in particular, but new releases are always in my face and ready to go at the library. So here we go with Landline!
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Georgie McCool has always wanted to be TV sitcom writer and she’s living that dream in Los Angeles alongside her long-time best friend, Seth. She works long hours and sometimes has to break her promises. Unfortunately, this does not sit well with her husband, Neal, who is a stay-at-home dad to their two daughters. When an opportunity arises for Seth and Georgie to create their own TV show, Georgie decides not to travel with her family to Omaha for Christmas with Neal’s parents. As a result, an emotional rift that had been threatening her and Neal for some time rips wide open. In a huff, Neal takes the kids and leaves Georgie behind. Devastated, Georgie starts to unravel emotionally. Has Neal left her? Is her marriage over? She desperately tries to reach him by phone but can’t get through. Georgie flees to her mother’s home and hides in her former bedroom to obsess over her marriage. Here she find her old, yellow phone and soon discovers that when she dials his number, the phone magically connects her with Neal. But not her forty-something husband, the much younger Neal she dated in college!
The first half of Landline is quite funny, as Seth, Georgie and their sidekick, Scotty, work frantically on scripts for their secret TV show presentation. Georgie and Seth’s friendship is the highlight of the book for me. Seth would immediately raise any sensible girl’s red flag, as he is attention hungry, vain and snarky, and yet I still adored him and loved his banter with Georgie. The book subtly suggests that Seth has always had romantic feelings for Georgie and at one stage, I thought he actually might be a better match for her than Neal.
The novelty of a magical telephone was underwhelming for me. Georgie could have easily reminisced about her relationship with Neal without it. But thanks to that phone, young Neal and Georgie speak quite frequently resulting in pages and pages of what I call “young love conversation”, as in when couples have nothing left to talk about, but don’t want to hang up and just speak drivel. Bored me to tears!
Landline was a good story and there were many things I liked about it, such as the humour and pop culture references to 80s and 90s TV shows, and Georgie’s friendship with Seth as mentioned above. Georgie is a hopelessly overwhelmed working mom who wanted to do better by her family, and for this reason I found her character likeable in the beginning. However, I quickly grew tired of her floundering and inability to get her act together. And while I appreciated her comedic last-ditch attempt to save her marriage, save Christmas, etc., even getting a bit choked up reading the ending, I had emotionally checked out of Landline many many chapters ago.
Did you like Landline? What Rainbow Rowell books have you read?