Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s 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?
Hey everyone, Manu and Amy here! We read Landline together in the past week, so we decided we write this review together too! Rainbow did it again. We both loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park and this is book is just as amazing. You just can tell by the way of writing it’s Rainbow, so Rainbow. Totally love it!
This book takes place in a little over a week, so in true Rowell style the fuss is not about the plot per se but the characters, their development and the way they relate to each other.
“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.”
This is a book that portaits marriage, and it’s probably one of the most realistic portrayal on the topic, even though there’s a plot twist (there’s always a plot twist) Georgie finds out that the landline in her childhood badroom gives her the chance to call her husband, Neal, in the past. Suddenly she’s talking to her old Neal, her boyfriend Neal, before they got married and had kids.
“Someone had given Georgie a magic phone and all she’d wanted to do with it is stay up late talking to her old boyfriend. If they’d given her a proper time machine, she probably would have used it to cuddle with him. Let someone else kill Hitler.”
Now everything has changed, Georgie and Neal’s marriage is on the line, and Georgie has no idea how to fix everything. She has always wanted to be a TV show writer, so that’s what she imagined to do in her life, but all Neal always wanted was Georgie. He doesn’t know what he would be without her, while she does. It can get really messy in a marriage when only one of the two could imagine living without the other. It doesn’t seem fair; plus, Gerogie works with her long time best friend, Seth, who’s a womanizer. Neal isn’t exactly jealous, because he trusts Georgie, but it’s not easy for anyone to see your other half being so close to someone else.
Throughout the book there are a lot of flashbacks to when Neal and Georgie first met, and Neal was that nerdy guy who barely gives attention to anyone. But Georgie is a strong character, when she wants something she goes and gets it. So that’s what she does, she basically stalks Neal and eventually gets his attention ( I think it’s really hard not to notice someone like her)
Seth always had to force Georgie to go to parties. Once she was there she was fine. Once she was there, she was usually great-if not the life of the party, certainly one of its most valuable players. People (new people, strangers) made Georgie nervous. And nervous Georgie was much more extroverted than regular Georgie. Nervous Georgie was pratically manic.
That’s Georgie (don’t you just love the name Georgie by the way?).
When Neal leaves with their two daugthers for Christmas, Georgie becomes a mess. Working becomes impossible, and Georgie goes back to her mom’s home. Talking with the old Neal (beside some doubts on this magical phone) brings all the problem between her an the right Neal to the light. Can they fix this? Can she be better to him? Can they still make their lives fit together? Is just love enough?
“How does anyone ever know whether love is enough? It’s an idiotic question. Like, if you fall in love, if you’re that lucky, who are you to even ask whether it’s enough to make you happy?”
Rowell’s writing is just so amazing *sighs*. Anyway, that’s the question, is Georgie right about this? Maybe at first when you’re young, love is enough, but when you’re older and life gets in the way is it still really enough? With the yellow phone in her old childhood room she has a way of talking to Neal in the past, and she wonders.. did they do the right thing by getting married? Can she perhaps change the future by changing the past?
“Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.”
We think this is the point. Sharing your life with someone requires work, it’s not something that magically happens, both parts have to make it easier for the other one. Neal never asks Georgie to put him before her work, or to choose between him and Seth, it’s up to Georgie to never make Neal feel like he has to ask those things.
“How could she ever doubt that he loved her? When loving her was what he did better than all the things he did beautifully.”
Rainbow Rowell, once again, made us fall in love with her characters. Marriage is not a fairy tale, it needs effort from both sides to make it work. And treasure all those cute, flirty moments that make you feel young again, when you just fell in love and started dating. The book has some beautiful quotes in it, and the ending brought tears to our eyes.
“I love you more than I hate everything else.”
We highly recommend Landline to everyone who’s up for a meaningful, funny, beautiful and heartbreaking read.