Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

My Thoughts

An all-too-real, heart-wrenching story about love and marriage, delivered in Rainbow Rowell’s one-of-a-kind quirky, yet emotionally charged style.

5stars

Synopsis

landline coverFrom New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.

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 to him to pack up the kids and go 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?

My Review

“I love you,” he said, “but I’m not sure it’s enough, I’m not sure it’ll ever be enough.”

Rainbow Rowell’s latest book imparts a heart-wrenching tale of love and marriage—about how the choices we make affect the people we love. Delivered in her signature, one-of-a-kind style that is both witty and profound, raw and relatable, Rowell shares Georgie and Neal’s story. A story about a relationship fraught with questions of what ifs.  A marriage whose unbalanced nature demands more from one than the other. Could that kind of love be right? Could it stand the test of time? Should it? Georgie and Neal’s story is imperfect. But it’s very much a love story, nonetheless. A life story. A story about love and friendship. About marriage and kids. About choices and consequences.

“Georgie, you can go crazy next week. Everything can happen next week. Sleep. Christmas. Nervous breakdowns. This week we’re making dreams come true.”

When funny girl and sitcom writer Georgie McCool forgoes a holiday trip with her family to stay and work, everything begins to unravel. She never expected her husband Neal to take their two girls and go without her. Her writing partner and best friend, Seth, convinces Georgie to stay—they finally have the chance to give their dream show a go. But when the consequences of her choices become graver than she imagined, she’s reeling not only at what she’s done, but also of what (and whom) she may have irrevocably lost. Alone, Georgie is forced to think about the state of her marriage, of their lives. They hadn’t been happy for awhile, but they were surviving… barely. She’s always been so focused on her career and as a result, missed so much with her girls, with her husband. Neal was the true heart of their family. He was the one who sacrificed everything to make it all work. He had sacrificed his own dreams so that she could realize hers.

“Georgie was extra. She was the fourth wheel. (On something that only needed three wheels. The fourth wheel on a tricycle.) She’d be nothing without them. Nothing. But without her? They’d be exactly the same? And Neal… maybe Neal would be happier.”

When a magical phone gives her the opportunity for a do-over, she wonders whether the right thing to do would be to let Neal go so that he could be happy. Time and time again, she had chosen her dreams, her best friend, her life, over Neal’s. Her sudden solitude gives her a rare respite for self-awareness, and her thoughts begin to consume her. Had she pushed Neal too far? Had she chosen Seth over Neal one too many times? Through a narrative that alternates between past and present, we begin to understand who Georgie and Neal are both apart and together.

“It wasn’t just that she let him down… It was that she’d tied him to her so tight. Because she wanted him. Because he was perfect for Georgie, even if she wasn’t perfect for him. Because she wanted him more that she wanted him to be happy. If she loved Neal, if she really loved him… Shouldn’t she want more for him than with me, always with me?”

Rowell creates an emotionally charged tension between friends and lovers, between the love we nurture in our youth and the routine love that we take for granted when kids and jobs and to-dos take the place of stolen moments and passionate kisses. With a relationship that is clearly broken, the story begs the question… Is love enough to keep a marriage afloat?

“Their marriage was like a set of scales constantly balancing itself. And then, at some point, when neither of them was paying attention, they’d tipped so far over into bad, they’d settled there.”

Through time and circumstance, bad choices and second chances, Rowell explores the lasting power of young love with the reality of middle-aged marriage. Her characters are real and complex and the topics are laden with the kinds of difficult issues impossible to resolve in the span of 300+ pages. It was both a heartbreaking and hopeful story, which manages to deliver some unexpected surprises in the end. Fans of the author will enjoy the relatable moments of both young and adult relationships, as well as the wit and quirkiness that Rowell undoubtedly injects into this contemporary story about the reality of love and marriage… and a “magical fucking phone.”

“Nobody’s lives just fit together… Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen–because you love each other.”

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