Book Review: Landline, By Rainbow Rowell

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I’m going to be real with you. I love Rainbow Rowell. I love her in that weird way where I want to be her, at least when it comes to her writing career. From the looks of it, Rainbow Rowell and her alliterative spectrum of a name came out of nowhere in 2011 and just started throwing literary gold everywhere. And not just any gold; gold that spans genre. This lady writes YA fiction, realistic fiction, science fiction, adult fiction, and even fan fiction. Yeah, she has even come up with a fictitious Harry-Potter-like series and then written homoerotic fan fiction about it, and readers are eating it up. It all boils down to Rainbow Rowell doing whatever she wants and everyone being A-Okay with it. She is like the Taylor Swift of the writing world (hold the celebrity breakup drama), and today we are talking about her latest novel, Landline.

Landline is the story of 37-year-old TV writer Georgie McCool who is on the verge of finally getting to write her own show. However, with this opportunity comes deadlines that will keep her home in LA for Christmas instead of visiting family with her husband and two young daughters in Omaha. She soon realizes that what she thought was a small sacrifice for her career may actually be the last straw in a crumbling marriage. However, with the help of a magical phone in her childhood bedroom that allows her to communicate with her husband in the past, Georgie McCool has the opportunity to either save her marriage or stop it from ever starting in the first place.

I’ll admit, books about marriages, especially the inner workings of failing marriages, have never been my first choice of reading material, but like everything else Rowell touches, I couldn’t put this book down. Seriously, I would read that woman’s shopping lists if she let me. However, there were a few moments where this book became a little tedious to read.

When it comes to writing realistic fiction with sci-fi elements, I know it can be difficult to decide how soon is soon enough for your main character to truly accept that this seemingly impossible thing is really happening, whether that impossible thing is a magic world in the back of a closet or a yellow rotary phone with time-traveling technologies. And I know that it is a lot easier for me, as a reader, to accept that Georgie is talking through a magical phone than it is for her, but let me tell you, I got a little tired of her constant denial. I mean, we get it, Georgie, it’s a difficult concept to wrap your brain around, but for story’s sake, can we please move on? But maybe that is part of what makes Rainbow Rowell’s stories so great. They feel real. The characters are wonderfully unique but completely believable. The stories develop without a hitch, and never once are readers left with a “that could never happen in real life” impression. So maybe I can forgive Georgie’s lack of faith in time-traveling rotary phones. If I was in a world as well-written as hers, I might have a hard time accepting it as well.

My only other qualm with this novel was how reminiscent it was of the Hallmark movies my mom and I like to mindlessly watch on Sunday afternoons. There was a level of predictability to it that I could have lived without, and the fact that it took place at Christmas time did not help matters. However, I will say, if Landline was turned into a Hallmark film, it would make it into the Hallmark Hall of Fame without a second guess. That’s a compliment, right?

In the end, I wouldn’t classify this as my favorite of Rowell’s works, but it is definitely worth a read. This story will leave you satisfied and wanting to call all of those old numbers you had to memorize by heart and punch in on your home phone.

Purchase on Amazon

*We reviewed a retail copyof Landline purchased by the reviewer

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