I love you more than I hate everything else.
Landline, Rainbow Rowell’s most recent release, is the story of Georgie McCool and Neal Grafton, college sweethearts who are facing marital difficulties fourteen years into their marriage. Georgie is too wrapped up in her TV writing career, and Neal is standoffish, but they both love each other, and their daughters Alice and Noomi more than anything else. So why is their marriage falling apart? When Georgie skips Christmas in Omaha with Neal’s family, she fears it might have been the final straw. When Georgie finds an old telephone in her childhood bedroom that connects her to the Neal of the past, she finds it could give her all the answers she needs, but realizes she might not like the outcome.
Rainbow Rowell could write anything and I would probably love it but Landline might be my new favorite. After being excited for this book for what felt like forever, it was more than worth the wait. I loved Georgie and all her sass and TV show dreams. She knows what she wants and is never afraid to go after it. Neal on the other hand, never knows what he wants, aside from Georgie, that is. Throughout the book we get back story into Neal and Georgie’s relationship, as well as Georgie’s relationship with her best friend and comedy writing partner, Seth. The college-era Georgie, Neal, and Seth give a Fangirl feel to the book, because Rowell writes that age in such a relatable way and does it so, so well.
Just like Fangirl and Eleanor and Park, all of the characters came to life as I read, and I could not put the book down. I actually read the whole thing in one day, which I now regret. I already want to go back and re-read, if anything just for Georgie and Neal’s relationship and seeing it build and come together. The quotes about love and being with someone were just so beautifully written and real sounding, that you couldn’t help but root for them all the way through.
“You don’t know when you’re 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. She didn’t know at twenty-three.”
“She thought of … the way he never made her feel crazy, even when she was acting crazy, and never made her feel like a failure, even when she was failing.”
Every character, not just Georgie and Neal, but Seth, Scotty, Alice and Noomi, even Georgie’s mom, in her velour track pants (I had a giant Mean Girls flashback at that. I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a COOL mom) just jumped off the page, and I loved every minute of this book. It moved so quickly that I read 100 pages before I realized it.
If you’re looking for your next great summer read, run don’t walk to Landline!
What would you do if you found a phone to the past?