Book reviews

Landline, by Rainbow Rowell | Book review

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Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.

I picked up Landline, by Rainbow Rowell because it sounded like a great pick me up book and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a funny contemporary read, easy to go through and a great read on bus rides. If you’re expecting a big life lesson from it, then you haven’t read enough contemporary romance fiction (not that there aren’t any books out there that do a great job at giving great life advice). Enough rambling.

So this book’s about Georgie and Neal, a middle aged couple who split up for the Christmas holiday. Georgie has to stay in LA to finish a script (she’s a comedy writer) and Neal takes their two kids to Omaha to visit his parents for the holidays. The craziness starts when Georgie discovers a way to talk to Neal in the past and tries to fix her marriage on the phone.

Characters

Simini Blocker Fanart
Simini Blocker Fanart

I think I liked this book because I saw a lot of myself in Georgie. She knows what she wants and she’s determined to get it. That’s her in a nut shell and what the narrator wants us to see her like. She’s always known she wants to be a comedy screen writer and even though she hasn’t been working on her dream ideas and getting paid for it for a long time, she still keeps her ideals alive by doing the work she’s passionate about in her spare time.

She stroke me as the kind of person who doesn’t compromise and works hard to achieve her ideals. She has a strange relationship with her best friend and close co-worker, Seth. They are very similar, as in extremely funny and goal-orientated.

What I didn’t like about Georgie is her portrayal as the woman who’s independent, but can’t actually do anything on her own, i.e. cook, shower, put on some decent clothes, without her loving husband’s help.

When Neal leaves for Omaha with the girls, Georgie doesn’t fall apart, but she goes back to her mum’s house and gets her food and clothes from there. She’s come to rely so much on her husband that she can’t imagine doing normal, every day life tasks without him.

That brings us to Neal – dear old Neal who doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life and so he chooses to follow the girl of his dreams along her life.

Here I have to say: if you think this book has a great lesson at the end, you’re mistaken! Neal’s character rightly shows how sad people are when they choose to follow someone else and forget about themselves. When you get sucked into someone’s aura (and Georgie has plenty of vibes to give out), you can become their sidekick and nothing else. Taking care of a family is not an easy business, but when there’s not a partnership and equal responsibility there, things get tricky.

I found the love story between these two very problematic. Georgie seems to be in love with the fact she’s been able to get the “man who doesn’t like anything” to love her. At the same time, Neal, of course, is in love with Georgie’s love of life and how she has everything figured out in her life: her dreams, ambitions and determination to make it work no matter what. I hoped by the end of the book I could say you have to read it to see how things turn out for them, but now I’m just a little bit disappointed that it doesn’t have a real explanation of the complexity of their relationship.

Yasmin Withane Fanart
Yasmin Withane Fanart

Plot

The twists and turns of the story and the two narratives, full of flashbacks, make this book worth reading. The style is quite nice, flows perfectly and just carries you through the story, giving background to everything that’s going on. I’d have liked to see a little bit more of the what happens after this crazy journey. The pace is great, you’re not left hanging for too long and you really get to discover the characters: how they were, how they evolved and where they are now. Also, the sidekicks are great and add some spice: Georgie’s sister, Heather, has some nice hilarious moments and her mum is pretty awesome too.

Overall message

What I chose to take away from this book was this: if your relationship isn’t working properly, you need to work at it. Love isn’t enough when it comes to building a life together and you can’t expect things to work out without you putting any effort into it. Love deserves as much time and attention as work in our lives.

Rating: ★★★ – Enjoyed it!

I wanted more from this story, but I really had a nice time reading it

What did you think of Landline? How did you find Georgie and Neal’s relationship? Is it healthy, am I the only one thinking it’s just flawed from the beginning? Let me know in the comments.

★ Happy reading ★

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