I went into this book not knowing exactly what to expect. Yet it still managed to be completely different from anything I could’ve imagined. A couple of months ago, I read my first Rainbow Rowell book — Fangirl. After all of the hype it received, I was expecting it to become one of my all-time favorite reads…but I ended up being kind of disappointed by it. So when I received Landline at BEA, I was a little hesitant to pick it up, especially after realizing that it’s actually Adult fiction, not YA or NA.
But Landline ended up being a really surprising and good book. I wouldn’t say that it’s a favorite of mine, but I still really liked it. And I’m sure that fans of Rowell’s previous books will like it as well, even if they are a bit shocked by how different it is from her other novels.
First of all, something really important to mention about this story is that it’s actually got somewhat of a paranormal element. You’re not quite sure what’s happening, but it’s definitely weird and certainly not normal. But once you get used to that part of the plot and learn to kind of “go with the flow” of the book, it’s actually pretty cool and serves to teach an important lesson. At first I was worried that it was becoming way to Christmas Carol-y for me, because I’m not a fan of that trope, but I quickly realized that that’s not exactly what’s happening here either.
One of the reasons I ended up liking this book so much was because I was able to relate to Georgie and her whole situation so well. Even though she’s clearly got all kinds of flaws, Georgie is still such a sympathetic character. I was actually a little surprised by how much I was able to still like her and root for her, even knowing that she kind of brought her problems upon herself a little bit. Her humanness is very apparent, and I think that’s what makes her so easy to connect with. We all make mistakes — even big ones. And not all of us really understand love and relationships. Georgie’s ability to dig deep within herself and come up with answers and realize how she should be living her life is admirable and made me wish that I was able to do the same thing within my own life.
I just really liked all of the sentiments about love in this book. I think it’s a universal thing that love is confusing and messy and hard to figure out. Landline isn’t the kind of romantic book where the two main characters are so in love with each other and are each other’s soul mates and everything is so dramatic and overblown. No, these are two normal people in a normal marriage who do love each other, yes, but also have issues that they need to work through. I think that Landline did such a good job portraying the realness of what marriage and long-term relationships are really like. Yet there is still a great love between these two people and you want them to work out. It’s kind of beautiful! I adored it.
But there were a few things that stopped me from rating this book higher. One being that, even though I thought that paranormal element was kind of cool and different in theory, I actually didn’t really like it all that much in practice. It was weird how it was sort of paranormal and sort of not. I didn’t like the wishy-washyness of it. The whole book was basically contemporary and then there was this weird, totally unexplained, paranormal element thrown in that was a huge part of the plot. It just wasn’t my kind of thing, even though I liked how it ultimately served the book in general.
There was also this thing where Georgie’s husband, Neil, wouldn’t answer his phone. And that became a big part of the plot. But at the end of the book, it’s never explained why he wasn’t answering his phone. I had trouble wrapping my head around exactly what was going on there. It seemed like kind of a big plot hole to me, though. Although it’s hard to go into more detail about why I think it was a plot hole without spoiling things.
The final thing that I didn’t like about it was how Georgie was portrayed as a mother. Although she obviously loves her kids, there’s lot of times in the book where she’s not being that good of a mother. There’s even one point where she questions whether she’s talked to her kids at all for the past two or three days. Like…what? That’s horrible parenting. I had trouble relating to her in that area and it made me dislike her a tiny bit. I tried to kind of ignore how not good she was being in that department, but it actually did bother me quite a lot.
Ultimately, there were a lot of things that I really liked about Landline, but there were also some things wrong with it that I just couldn’t get over. But I’d still highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to experience a very accurately portrayed marriage and the realities of long-term love.
As a special little bonus, here’s a clip from the audiobook version of Landline! I already know that I’m going to want to re-read this book one day…I think next time I’m going to get the audiobook 🙂