Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date: July 3rd 2015 (paperback)
Publisher: Orion
Length: 308 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Orion for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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?

So the first Rainbow Rowell book I ever read was ‘Eleanor & Park’ and whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t hit me in quite the same way as a lot of other people I know who loved it. So I wasn’t in any huge rush to pick up any of her other books, they were always on the ‘yeah, I’ll get to it at some point’ pile. And then I had a long train journey back home and Landline was on my kindle and I thought I should really try it and see.

Reading Landline was like being hit by a truck in the feels. On finishing it I was actually glad that I hadn’t read it before now, as I don’t think that it would have resonated with me in quite the same way. Having waited until now, when I’m coming up to my first wedding anniversary, it struck a lot of chords inside me. I may not have kids yet, or a high pressure job in tv and been married for 17 years, but I do have that fear. That worry that maybe love isn’t enough, and it was both heart-breaking and uplifting to read Georgie and Neal’s story and to see them battle through the little things and the big things together, because they loved each other and couldn’t imagine life without the other.

The writing is poetic and beautiful and orchestrated to perfection to provide maximum impact when reading. I fell into the story, into their lives and their memories and their love for each other and at times felt like I was buoyed by it and others like I was drowning. It is gut wrenching and stunning. Funny and tragic. Magical and utterly mundane. It gives you the insights into young Georgie who is full of certainty and love and determination and juxtaposes her against older Georgie who is worn and tired and desperately trying to juggle all of the balls at once and keeps missing.

"You don't know when you are twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten—in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems."

I genuinely couldn’t see how this could end. Obviously I was hoping for hope and happiness, but I just wasn’t sure. I was filled with as much desperation, bewilderment and uncertainty as Georgie was as she remembered and re-remembered and tried to work out what to do. I stumbled off the train after reading and fell into my Husband’s arms, desperate for comfort and reassurance, I was so invested into Georgie’s story.

In short, this book is beautiful. A gorgeous melding of magic and reality, of hope and loss, but most importantly of love in all its many shapes and guises. I fell in love with Georgie and I fell in love with Landline and I think I may have just fallen for Rainbow. Now I’m itching to get into every other book she’s written, but I think Landline will always hold a special place in my heart, and be a book that I come back to over and over again for the little pieces of humour and wisdom and hope folded delicately into the prose.


  1. Oh gosh, this book. "You don't know . . . " Sigh.

    1. It was so good, I was a mess after reading it. And yes, so many beautiful quotes but that one really sums it up perfectly.

  2. I've read this book but it didn't hit me in the same way as it hit you... I think what you said about reading it at the right time is important and maybe now that I'm slightly more mature and in a serious relationship, this book will mean more to me. I think I'll give this title a re-read as it didn't 'wow' me the first time round. Excellent review!

    Laura @ What's Hot?

    1. I think reading books at the right time plays a huge part in it. I've had books that I really didn't like the first time around, then tried them a few years later and loved them! And I really think if I'd read this a couple of years ago it would have just been an alright read, nothing spectacular. I'd be really interested to hear if your thoughts on it have changed if you do read it again. Thanks so much for reading!