Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Firstly, thanks to Hachette Books Australia for this review copy <3

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Date Read: June 25 - July 2 2014
Release Date: July 3rd 2014
Publisher: Orion (Hachette Australia)
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Adult contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"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 besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides 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 to 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?"

---

“Love isn’t always enough.”

Rainbow Rowell always manages to write such original stories. She takes common, everyday issues and weaves them into memorable tales that really stay with the reader. I definitely liked this more than Eleanor & Park (which wasn’t for me) but didn’t think it resonated with me as much as Fangirl (which I adored).

For those of you that don’t know, Landline is an adult book (much like Attachments which was also about communication). In the present day, it’s a week before Christmas and Georgie suddenly gets the opportunity to further her career greatly as a TV comedy writer. However, this means she has to work through Christmas and she’d promised her husband Neal she’d spend Christmas with him, their daughters and Neal’s mother all the way across the country in Omaha, Nebraska. The result is her staying in Cali while her husband takes their daughters to spend Christmas with Neal’s mum. You can say that Neal wasn’t exactly happy when he left.

Present day Georgie sort of annoyed me in the beginning – in the flashbacks to the past Rowell writes, Georgie was very active and upbeat. She was the one that pursued Neal and got things done. But as soon as Neal left with the kids, it was like Georgie fell apart. When Georgie’s mother assumes that Neal’s left her, Georgie determinedly denies this – so why does she act like it’s true when deep down she knows it’s not? Instead of her just falling apart with glazed eyes I wanted Georgie to get up and do something about it – or go about her life if Neal really didn’t leave her. What I did like about Georgie though was her freaking out about the phone thing – when she calls Neal in the past she thinks she’s going mad and it’s so relatable from that point forward.

“This was crazy. This was weird and crazy. It wasn’t real. But it was stil happening. If Georgie hung up, would it stop?”

Two secondary characters stood out for me for different reasons. Seth has been Georgie’s best friend since the beginning of college. He’s a constant in her life. And my god he ANNOYED me. He was like the fly that keeps incessantly buzzing at your ear which you can’t shake off or swat. I swear he’s the biggest cockblocker ever and half the time he knows it. I just didn’t understand why he had to be so imposing on Georgie’s life. I always felt that there was something between him and Georgie that never got resolved and it would just hang between them. Heather is Georgie’s sister, 18 years younger than her. I adored Heather. At just 18, she’s hilarious and so accepting. I loved how she was so observant and really cared about Georgie. Heather was definitely my favourite character in the book.

“I’ve been there from the beginning. Right there."

The biggest issue I had with this book (and my same issue with Eleanor & Park) is I didn’t see the emotional component behind how and why Georgie and Neal got together to begin with. Georgie admires his drawings, she’s definitely attracted to him but she’s attracted to Seth as well. From my point of view, Neal did nothing for Georgie. She was always pushing to get a response from him and he practically never responded. He was just so passive and seemed like he didn’t care. What was so great about Neal? And for Neal, what was so great about Georgie? She was always putting Seth first. Rowell also skipped over what they talked about so I had no idea what they could talk about that connected them – especially when Neal was drawing and not really responding to Georgie most of the time. I knew that with Seth, Georgie talked comedy things and TV shows but with Neal I had no clue. I got none of their personality quirks that attracted one to the other, just the physical components and then they’re saying they love each other?

Don’t get me wrong though, the romance was really sweet and true. The great thing about Rowell’s style is that her characters are so relatable. Her characters don’t have the typical tropes that many books have. Her characters are flawed in ways that are relatable – not extremely damaged, but dealing with everyday stresses. So I could see Georgie and Neal struggle with their marriage and their love (after they’d gotten together). I imagine that what Georgie and Neal are going through, is what people in real life go through. The story isn’t melodramatic, but mellow while incorporating that surreal calling-into-the-past element which added this really original flavour to what would seem like an ordinary book.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and relatable adult (non-YA) book. Rowell takes real life situations and adds a magical touch to make a really stand out story that resonates with the reader.

“From this moment onward.”

6 comments:

  1. I totally did not like Seth either! He really made me mad multiple times, and I just wanted Georgie to call him out on his attitude and behavior. That being said, I still liked Landline. It was a pretty interesting take on marriage, and what happens when trouble brews in it, so I liked that aspect a whole lot.

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    1. Obviously I'm no expert on marriage lol but I imagine this is what happens in the real world and I liked how she takes such a realistic approach but adds the magical touch :D

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  2. Excellent review Jaz, I cannot wait to read this book because I just LOVED Attachments (I haven't read E&P yet, but have read and adored Fangirl). I like how this is an adult book that addresses things like marriage, which you don't really get much of in YA you know? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I still need to read Attachments, I wonder if that'll be better for me. I liked how this seemed like a really realistic take on marriage. Hope you enjoy!

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  3. I'm very curious about this one because I loved Attachments (which is her other adult book) and liked Eleanor & Park. (I haven't read Fangirl yet, but will remedy that soon.) I get what you mean with "I didn’t see the emotional component behind how and why Georgie and Neal got together to begin with." I had that problem with E&P too. Like, they were starting to get friends (imo) and just hang out a bit but I didn't feel like they were really ready to get together because there wasn't really a reason for it yet. Still, I can imagine that Landline might be very relatable for people who have been married for a while. While that obviously doesn't apply to me, I'm still very curious about this :)

    Great review, Jaz <33

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    1. Oh phew I'm not the only one that didn't see the emotional side! I found it seriously lacking in both this and E&P, Fangirl was the only one where I could the emotions really develop.
      Hope you enjoy this Celine (:

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