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Landline | Book Review

Hello everybody!
Yesterday was my birthday! I had an amazing day, ate ice cream cake (Which is easily the best culinary invention known to man), spent time with people I carew about, went shopping, and did all of those great things that make a birthday fun. Most importantly, I also spent the first hour or so of my birthday reading because it’s kind of the point of life and living and other such things to be able to read in the night on your birthday. It eliminates that bitter taste in your mouth left by the not-so-perfect things. We’ll always have books. <3
The book I read was Landline by Rainbow Rowell. This is the first book of hers that I’ve read. It’s her newest novel, and it released in 2014. It’s her second book that’s written for adults, the other being Attachments I think.
The storyline of this one and another of her books, Fangirl, have always interested me the most. Recently, I’ve been finding her books in the bookstores I frequent, which is great. In fact, I’ve already bought and shelved Eleanor and Park, but I’ve gotten an inkling that it doesn’t end happily, so I haven’t read it yet.
That may make no sense to anyone because I read a lot of books about abused people, and books set in war-ravaged third world countries, and a lot of psychedelic mess-with-your-head books. My favourite genre is dystopic, for God’s sake! It’s really stupid to be scared of a YA book with a cute cover because it may not have a happy ending. Well, here’s the thing. I like my love stories happy. I like it when people end up together. If I’m to read a person-meets-person story that deals with their relationship almost exclusively, they better make it worth my while by ending up together!
Errr… As you can see, I have strong opinions about this topic. (As I do about every other topic under the sun.) Anyway, I’ll wrap this up because it isn’t what my post is about. People who’ve read Eleanor and Park already, let me know if it’s worth reading sooner rather than later. Thanks! 🙂
Now that we’ve all understood my stand on a completely pointless topic, and also heard me rant about it, tradition demands that I actually talk about what I intended to talk about. Yes?
So. Landline. I liked it overall. I like stories with magical realism in them, especially when they aren’t rationally explained. That’s what stories are for, right? In this book, Georgie is an ambitious, focused woman, determined to succeed in the male-dominated field of comedy writing.
Her husband stays at home to look after their two adorable girls, and it’s seen later in the book that he’s tried a number of career-paths, but didn’t actually enjoy any of them.
I wasn’t too hot about him at the beginning of the book. He seemed distant and nasty and I kept placing myself in Georgie’s shoes, because law is just as time-consuming a profession, and I wouldn’t want to come home to cold anger. Through the book, though, I found myself warming to him, not because of any great personality transformation, but because we get to see their relationship develop. More than anything, I saw him through Georgie’s eyes, and it’s so plain to see that she loves him that I started liking him too. That’s a pretty skilful thing to do. Kudos to Rainbow Rowell for that.
The story starts with the saturation of their already strained relationship when Georgie has to work during Christmas. They had plans to visit Neal’s mom and Georgie suggests cancelling, but Neal says he and the kids are going to Omaha without her. Things are very nasty between them before Neal and the kids leave and Georgie works herself into a state about it. Her mom assumes that their marriage is over and has Georgie come over because she thinks she can’t be alone. Georgie’s iPhone is screwed up so she calls his phone from her old landline and she ends up speaking to a younger version of Neal, from before they were married.
This bit is what attracted me to the story, actually. I’m only 23, but I’ve been in a relationship for five and a half years, and a LOT of it was long distance because I went to law school in a different city. We were young and we ought to have broken up and seen other people because long distance is hard, and 18 is too early to close down all your options. But the fact is that we didn’t want to break up. We DID break up, a lot of times, but we didn’t want to stay broken for longer than a day or two. We couldn’t have survived it if we didn’t have telephones, so don’t tell me they aren’t magic. They are! And potent magic too! Jokes, aside, it’s a very interesting premise, and Rainbow Rowell does make it work, with an interesting twist at the end, no less.
This doesn’t mean that the book is perfect. The level to which Georgie fell apart was inexplicable. I couldn’t see it or relate to it. I’m pretty sure that it’s possible to be more responsible and sensible than that! And this is coming from the least responsible person. (Ok, not the least responsible, but I’m in the top 100 in the world.)
Also, the story dragged on a bit towards the middle, or at least that’s how I felt.
Overall though, this was the perfect birthday read, interesting and unique, and fun to read. I really want to read Fangirl now, but I can’t because I don’t have it, and I’ve bought way, way, way too many books this year. I made ANOTHER exception for my birthday because I’m secretly insane, apparently. Fun, isn’t it? No more books till the end of the year! And possibly more. We’ll see.
Good book, this. A fun read. Give it a read if it’s up your alley.
Have you guys read this or any other Rainbow Rowell book? How did you like it? Have you read similar books that you think I’d enjoy? Remember, owls love book recommendations!
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