I read Fangirl last week (my first Rainbow Rowell), and loved it so much that I thought I’d give Landline a try. I had a look on Goodreads and saw that it was one of the Reader’s Choice Winners in 2014, so I had pretty high hopes for it. Did it live up?
Unlike Fangirl which is a YA, Rainbow Rowell has switched tack and written this book from the perspective of Georgie McCool, a 30-something mother of two. Landline tells the story of what happens when Georgie’s husband, Neal, goes to Omaha to spend Christmas at his mother’s house. Instead of going with Neal and their children, Georgie opts to stay in L.A-she’s a T.V script writer and has to help write the script for a new sitcom that’s been commissioned. Her marriage has been in trouble for quite some time and her decision not to go to Omaha with her family only serves to make things worse.
What follows is a kind-of time-travel/romance. The time-travel element takes the shape of a phone, which when used by Georgie, manages to contact Neal fifteen years in the past. Obviously she’s pretty taken by this mysterious phone that can reach through the years and spends most of the novel talking with Neal from the past. As is standard with Rainbow Rowell, this plot is a teensy bit hard to relate, so I suggest you read it to understand what the hell I’m trying to get at!
I was hoping for more from this novel and did consider DNFing it a few times. Something kept me turning the pages though, which was maybe the fact it was quite short at only 310 pages and I thought that I may as well finish it. The quality of the writing was very good as well, so I’d say that helped. Plus it was a bit of an insane plot and I wanted to know the resolution.
The characters were just okay. There was no-one that particularly stood out for me. Georgie seemed quite detached a lot of the time, as if the un-realness of the phone she was using had seeped into her personality. Basically, it didn’t really feel like the reader was particularly intimate with her. Neal, as a character, was a bit better, but kind-of frustrating in his emotional unavailability. There were a few side-characters such as Seth, Georgie’s charismatic best-friend and co-writer, who provided a change of pace, as did Georgie’s family.
Even though the book had an intriguing plot it had no real tension and the structure wasn’t great, leaving me feeling bored at times.
An okay read if you’re looking for something light and easy to follow, but not one I’ll ever really think about in the future.