I first 'discovered' Rainbow Rowell when I read her debut novel Attachments. I loved her story and her style and have been a fan ever since. (She's also written some fantastic YA titles - Fangirl and Eleanor & Park)
Rowell's latest book Landline is an adult book.
Georgie and Neal have been married for fourteen years. They have an established life with Georgie as the breadwinner and Neal as stay-at-home dad to their two daughters. Georgie works as a television scriptwriter. When she and her writing partner get an offer at last for their own show, Georgie is thrilled. The only hitch? They have to produce four scripts in a short amount of time - over the Christmas holidays. The plan was to visit Neal's parents in another state for Christmas. But, when Georgie cancels going with Neal and the girls, the cracks in their marriage widen to what may be the breaking point. Is this the end of their marriage?
Georgie tries to stay in touch with Neal by phone, but he seems to be out every time she calls. Depressed and not wanting to go home to an empty house, she heads to her mom's house and her childhood room. When her cellphone dies, she plugs in the bright yellow landline buried in the closet. And she finally reaches Neal. But, Georgie thinks she's losing her mind - when she talks to Neal, it's the past. The yellow phone is letting her revisit another Christmas, before they were married.
Rowell has again created a wonderfully quirky story in Landline. At first I thought the story would simply be a exploration of a relationship. Rowell makes the story unique with the addition of magical realism. The phone was a great plot device.
I liked the idea of seeing the past from the present. How often do we say to ourselves - "Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now." What would you do if you had the chance to change things? What if you couldn't? What if you didn't want to? Rowell raises some good questions and discussion points about marriage, relationships, balance in our lives and choices we make. What would you do if you had the chance to change things? What if you couldn't?
Rowell always creates quirky, fun characters. In Landline, Georgie's family - her mom and sister - both really appealed to me. I liked Georgie, but wanted to give her a bit of a wake up shake - especially in the past. I just didn't like Neal. Yes, in the present he's a good father. But seriously- in the past when she first meets him, I had my doubts. He's anti-social and quite frankly, I found him somewhat manipulative.
Rowell's prose are easy to read, are entertaining and seem to flow effortlessly. I finished Landline really quickly. Now, I quite enjoyed it, but didn't love it as much as past titles. Part of that was Neal, part of it Georgie's choices and part of it was perhaps an extra chapter or two that I thought was somewhat repetitive, covering ground already talked about. That being said, it's still a four star read from a very talented author. Landline releases July 8/14 - put it on your summer reading list.
Read an excerpt of Landline. You can find Rainbow Rowell on Facebook, and on Twitter.