Lately, I have been lousy at posting “reviews” on my blog and with my review backlog fast piling up, I am slowly losing hope of ever being able to catch up with a post for each one. (I must resolve to write a post each time I finish a book.) Anyway, I finished Landline last Friday night and my mind is still processing everything that transpired. I knew I had to write about my thoughts as soon as I finished because I will be starting another book with friends today (who is hyperactive?), otherwise, I might eventually lose my drive to write again (and I love this book too much, I can’t not write about it.)
It is no secret how big a Rainbow Rowell fan I have become ever since I read Attachments, so when I learned that she has another book coming out this year, I knew I had to have a copy. I read this book with Meliza and Joy. (Meliza is my favorite Rainbow Rowell reading buddy.) (We are actually dubbed as the Rainbow Rowell Groupie.) (Those who have already read Landline can easily spot the reference I’ve made here. Hehe.)
Unlike Eleanor & Park and Fangirl which are both YA, Landline is an adult book. It is slightly similar to Attachments where the main characters are closer to my age, but I felt that I could relate better to the story of Georgie and Neal (even though they’re already in their 40s) because of the fact that they’re married. Actually, the thing that really made me love this book is the fact that it is about marriage. I have read many books about love and romance, including teenybopper, eyebrow-raising romance, but there were only few books I’ve read about marriage: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler is one book about a married couple that I actually enjoyed. And then there’s Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, although the marriage of Dr. Urbino and Fermina Daza was only secondary to the main plot.
So, it’s not a surprise that I Ioved this book. I was actually hesitant to set my expectations too high because of the mixed reviews I’ve read, but I now fearlessly conclude: Rainbow Rowell could never go wrong in my eyes. I like her wit and humor. I especially like her wit and humor. I like it that she can make me laugh and cry at the same time. Sure, I may not have liked some of her stories (i.e. Fangirl) but I liked her writing style. I especially loved reading the conversations in this book. The narrative made me feel like I was watching a TV drama (or sitcom). Also, it was fun reading references to TV shows and music (I’ve especially grown to like Leather & Lace). Finally, I liked how mundane details were made interesting to read (i.e. the way Rainbow described the ears or the eyebrows), or how the kissing (or nuzzling) scenes were different from the usual way of depicting a kissing(or nuzzling) scene.
I loved all the characters in Landline, including the ugly pugs, but I instantly connected with Georgie McCool and the fact that she was a working mom with a stay-at-home husband. Georgie is a character that I hate to love (and love to hate). She’s selfish (and she knew it), she’s insensitive (she knew it, too), and she’s self-centered (oh, how she knew it). But she’s also determined (although a bit argumentative) and strong. She would not allow her marriage to fall apart just like that, and she’s willing and ready to put up a fight. I was so glad that she didn’t simply give up on her marriage (especially at a time when getting a divorce is the norm.)
I initially disliked Neal. He was spineless and indecisive (when he was 19) but as the story progressed, I had grown to like him because of the choices (and sacrifices) he made. Georgie was fortunate to have Neal. Between the two of them, Neal was the one who made all the right choices in their marriage.
And then there’s Seth. Whom I really hated. And I didn’t care if he looked like a model of cuffed pants and loafers. I hated his guts and his carelessness, and the fact that he was so insensitive and rude. I hate him. I hate friends who try to force themselves into the privacy of their married friends. If you’re a good friend, you wouldn’t even try — no, you wouldn’t even dare — to put your friend in a situation that she would be forced to choose between you and their spouse.
For what happens to love after the romance? What happens to love in a marriage? Unlike Rainbow Rowell’s previous books where it was all about fluff and swoon, Landline explores the reality about love after the courtship and feels are over. It portrays the kind of love that requires decision-making and a lot of work, more than the butterflies-in-the-stomach-flowers-and-chocolates kind. The magical (or was it paranormal?) element of time-travel provided the mystery but for me, it was merely a conduit for Georgie to come to terms with her own guilt and to make a firm decision about her life and Neal’s.
Landline was a fast read. It progressed quickly (the story happened for just one week), but the emotional build-up was strong, and hard. My heart started to break apart in page 167 and my tears eventually fell in page 422. I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending. And I am now a Rainbow Rowell completist. Yay!
“Wasn’t that the point of life? To find someone to share it with? And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you loved more than everything else, wasn’t everything else just scenery?” (p.302)
4.5 (rounded off to 5)/5 stars.
My copy: Paperback
Reading buddies: Meliza and Joy