Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

And so continues my love affair with all things Rainbow! Rowell’s second adult novel, published earlier this summer, is the story of Georgie McCool and yes that’s her real name. Georgie is a television writer on the verge of her big break with longtime comedy partner Seth.  Right before Christmas Georgie has to cancel her trip to Omaha with her husband Neal and their two daughters Alice and Noomi to work on scripts with Seth.  Georgie’s marriage has been in trouble for some time but this seems to be the last straw.  Unsure if Neal has just left LA or if he has left Georgie completely, she camps out at her mother’s house and unearths her old rotary phone.  The phone turns out to be a portal to the past, a chance to talk to Neal in the beginning of their relationship and relive how they fell in love but is love enough to save her marriage in the present?

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At first Georgie thinks she is going mad but she just kind of rolls with it because what else can you do?  Once you eliminate all other possibilities the last one standing must be true, in essence, a magic fucking phone!  I love how Neal and Georgie fall in love, it was paced beautifully, it felt authentic every step of the way.  Rainbow Rowell has incredible talent, she makes me fall in love with each of her love stories.  Landline has a wonderful cast of supporting characters – I loved Georgie’s way younger sister Heather, her mom’s pregnant pug, and Noomi’s constant meowing.  And I absolutely love Neal, he just might be my new fictional character crush.

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When I was a teenager my house was in flux from landlines to cordless phones just as cellphones were becoming a mainstream commodity for the rest of the world – my parents were always a little late on the technology train.  But I still remember what it was like to stretch the cord as far as it would go (I could still reach the refrigerator for a snack) and how it felt to twirl the cord in my fingers.  Rowell’s interview on NPR last month describes the visceral feeling of talking on a landline: http://www.npr.org/2014/07/07/328144084/rainbow-rowell-does-romance-with-a-subversive-read-realistic-twist

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Rowell tweeted (and confirmed in a Goodreads question/answer session) that two of her characters from a previous novel would make a subtle appearance. Two of my previous characters make a cameo in Landline, but it’s sort of sneaky. They’re not named. If I hadn’t know this little tidbit I might have missed it, instead I did a double take and squealed with excitement! I might have even had a fangirl moment, one might phrase it as such.  Rowell will be a participating author at YALL fest in Charleston, SC this November.  I met the lovely Ms. Rowell once at Little Shop of Stories and I would love to meet her again!

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