Friday, April 10, 2020

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Narrated by Rebecca Lowman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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?


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I listened to an audio version of Landline, and it was amazing! Rebecca Lowman did an incredible job. I also loved that the main character was my age, and that she was living in a similar situation (husband + kids). It was wonderfully relatable! I understood Neal's frustrations and Georgie's insecurities. It's hard trying to balance everything life throws at you, especially when you have children! They require a lot of time and energy. 💤

In this story, Georgie's relationship with her husband (Neal) isn't perfect. They've lost the spark in their marriage, and they've stopped trying to be better people for each other. Georgie has always known what she's wanted, and Neal has never begrudged her that, although he does dislike pretty much everything about her job. Georgie's relationship with Seth (her best friend even before Neal was in the picture) is a particular sore spot for them both. Her late nights and long hours is something else he struggles with accepting, which I can understand. She's never home, and when she is, she's either on the phone (more work) or too tired to stay awake.

The magical realism in Landline was particularly interesting, especially since most young adults today will not understand how a landline works, or what it's like to talk on a phone with a chord. (Maybe if they've tried talking on their cell phones while they're plugged in??) It's definitely something a specific generation will resonate with, but still contains a story that will apply to everyone. Sometimes we have to remember why we love someone. Having problems doesn't mean your relationship is doomed, but that maybe it's not getting the attention it deserves.

I really liked seeing Georgie talk to a younger version of her husband, and recall specific events that were important milestones in their relationship. Obviously, they were different people in their 20's, before getting married and having kids, but they're still the people they fell in love with.

I also enjoyed seeing Georgie's interactions with her family, and how complex those relationships were. I particularly enjoyed Heather's appearances, since they felt the most significant. Heather had a lot of Life Questions for her sister (she's 18), and Georgie was struggling to find answers amidst her own personal crisis.

I wished there had been more resolution between Georgie and Neal, but the story left me feeling hopeful and optimistic. Georgie's grand gesture seems to have put them back on the right track (something that was sadly a little obvious from the start), but they're going to have to actually talk about their problems before they can get better. Neal just wants to "start over" and not fight, and that's not going to fix what's broken. I wanted them to talk about their feelings in the present.

Overall, Landline was an enjoyable audiobook with a relatable main character. Georgie's phone calls to the past were interesting, and a very unique concept that I haven't seen before! It was like time travel, but not... voice travel? Mind travel? I'm not sure how the phone worked, but it allowed Georgie to sort through her feelings, and remember all of the reasons she fell in love with her husband. I really liked her focus on his facial features, and how easy it was for her to read him. (★★★⋆☆)

20 comments:

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    1. I have a few Rowell books I still need to read! Like Fangirl! :)

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  2. This book has a special place in my heart because it was the first Buddyread that I did.
    I liked the bit of magic in this book was well. I see myself re-reading it!

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    1. I'm not sure if it would be a re-read for me, since the main character was super self-obsessed (haha), but I did love seeing her fall in love with her husband again. I think she realizes now how much she's taken him for granted, and will hopefully be better in the future, but we can only hope and assume. Her job should never have been more important than her family, regardless if it's what she's always wanted to do. ;)

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  3. I mostly liked this book too! I thought it was a very creative premise. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I had some issues with the main character (like how her job seemed more important than her family), but liked it overall. :)

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  4. I've yet to read anything by Rowell but I love the sound of this one! Although, it sounds like the ending is a bit woolly? I'd have wanted to know they were definitely safe and their issues resolved rather than an optimistic feeling they'd be okay... Maybe a nice epilogue set ten years later! lol

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean by woolly, haha. If it's similar to warm and fuzzy, not really. Neal is a very hard-to-like person, because he's very standoffish and likes to scowl at people, but he has a good heart. He loves Georgie and has supported her even when it made him crazy to do so. I've only read this Rowell, her Runaways series (comic), and Eleanor & Park. I have Fangirl, but still need to read it.

      I really wanted an epilogue at the end! I was also hoping Georgie would give up her career (that she wasn't entirely happen with anyways) and finally let Neal find his Thing. He's never known what he wanted to do, but still wants to figure out, but stays home with the kids so she can work. I wish they'd switched roles at the end.

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  5. This wasn't my favorite by Rowell but I still enjoyed it. I liked the "time travel" (kinda/sorta) aspect and the idea of second chances. I struggled with Georgie at times and the way she seemed so selfish and wrapped up in her own career, her own goals. Neal was just there in the background making everything run at home so she could live out her dream. It wasn't totally one-sided of course but I felt like she really took Neal for granted.

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    1. It's hard to describe! It was like time travel, but not really. I'm also not sure if it's about second chances, since it seems like Neal has been living with a promise she made YEARS ago. She technically promised to be a certain kind of person before he proposed, and that's not what he got. Not until two kids and many fights later. I feel like he really got the short straw, and Georgie kept taking advantage of him. I wanted her to quit her job at the end and spend more time with her family. Move to Omaha and let Neal try his hand at being a Railroad Detective. He never got to figure out what he wanted to do in life, and she's never really helped him find that.

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    2. Right! The relationship was all about Georgie and her wants and needs. And I really wanted to see a more even balance by the end. An awakening in Georgie that Neal deserved his chance. It was all about her. But it felt like it really was all about her - even at the end.

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    3. Yep! It was all about what Georgie went though to get there, and I think some of the focus should have been shifted to Neal. He hadn't spoken to his wife in days, and suddenly it's okay because she walked through some snow???

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  6. I've had this one on my TBR forever, but have been worried that it is overhyped. It sounds like it lives up to all the hype though!

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    1. It may be slightly overhyped, but it was definitely enjoyable! :)

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  7. Your review is great and I want to add this to my TBR (ever groing) pile.

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (if it ever reaches the top of your TBR pile, haha). :)

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  8. I haven't read it but it sounds like it was an enjoyable read.

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    1. It was! An interesting concept for sure. :)

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  9. The magical realism aspect of this book is fascinating. I agree that Georgie and Neal need to talk about their problems before things get better; it would have been good to have that.

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    1. Right? I wish they'd sat down and discussed their relationship and talked about what they wanted from it. Neal is clearly unhappy, but it didn't seem like Georgie was willing to make any big changes. She's going to try (something Neal thought she was doing since he proposed), but isn't willing to give him a shot at finding his place in the world.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless