Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Length: 310 pages | 9 hours 6 minutes
Source: Borrowed from the library
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has 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 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?
Landline takes a familiar real-world woe (when a romantic relationship goes stale because partners are taken for granted, the relationship isn’t a priority, etc.) and adds a bit of magic to it. But not in the sparkly enchanting Disney sort of way- in the ‘holy carp- consequences!’ kind of way.
Georgie knows her marriage is in trouble, but she also knows she loves Neal and Neal loves her. Is love enough? Is knowing a thing is broken, and even knowing why it’s broken, enough to fix it? Enter: the magic phone that allows her to call Neal, pre-marriage. As Georgie struggles with the implications, she has flashbacks of her early relationship with Neal. In that way, it’s like an out-of-time romance.
Georgie and Neal have a charmingly quirky relationship, the kind that’s too unique to feel predictable or boring. Rowell’s constant talent for authentic character voices shines in this novel- although I didn’t directly relate to any of the characters, I could very clearly picture them all as whole, real people. And, true to real life, Rowell doesn’t give easy answers, safe assumptions, or endings wrapped up in a bow.
The only reason I’m rating it lower than an A, really, is because the ending felt a bit dribbly to me. I’m fine with not getting answers or assurances, but the pace of the ending went from climax to sort of post-climax redundancy.
Overall, I found it an enjoyable listen, with a great audiobook narrator: well-paced, great character development, and moments that may have you looking at your own relationships with a knowing eye.