‘Landline’ by Rainbow Rowell fits more perfectly into the ‘New Adult’ genre of literature. Due to there being no characters in the book between the ages of 15-20, ‘Young Adult’ may have been an understatement.
However, the fact that the characters were parents didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, although I felt I couldn’t relate to the characters as well because I hadn’t experienced a lot of what they were going through…like marriage. (It’s unfortunately impossible to propose to book characters.)
The story follows Georgie, a mother of two that has a time consuming career of writing scripts for TV shows. That was super interesting to read, as I never really imagine the people behind the jokes of sitcoms. Georgie is married to Neal and it’s safe to say their marriage is on the rocks because of Georgie’s job and the strain of having kids. (Wow, family life suddenly seems way more difficult than I thought!)
Although this is all quintessential to the plot, the really interesting idea is that Georgie has a phone in her present that can connect to a phone in Neal’s past. Through this magical device, she is able to talk to a younger Neal, who is contemplating proposing to Georgie. As anyone would, older Georgie takes this opportunity to smooth over younger Georgie’s mistakes and put right her relationship with her husband.
This doesn’t quite go to plan.
The scenes where Georgie was on the phone to younger Neal were quite repetitive. They’d follow the pattern of younger Neal, not knowing older Georgie’s downfall’s, convincing her that he loves her while the older Georgie tries to convince him that they’re not right for each other. I could read about this struggle once, but three times was kind of a push.
There are also parts of the book that are flashbacks to Georgie and Neal’s relationship at its roots, when they were first getting to know each other. These were the cutest parts, but as we were only reading from Georgie’s perspective, we didn’t get to see that Neal really really liked Georgie, though he wasn’t very good at showing it.
In a way, their relationship was unequal from the start, with Georgie thinking that she loved Neal more than he loved her, and with Neal thinking the other way around. The problem was definitely communication. They definitely needed to talk more. Thank goodness for this magical phone! If only Georgie would stop being so negative about herself.
The other problem with time travel is messing up the future. Georgie was under the impressive the phone worked in a ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Meet the Robinson’s’ system but really, we were looking at your classic ‘Prisoner of Askaban’ contingency system, where every action is predetermined to make the future. Nice one.
All is resolved at the end, which is nice for the McCool family, but in my opinion, the whole book could have told the same story in a lot less pages, with less emphasis on Georgie’s life and more emphasis on her ability to fix her broke relationship (successfully, I might add!) For this reason, I’m going to give this book 3.5 stars, because although I liked it, the characters were much older than me. I couldn’t sympathize with them well and the story felt a little drawn out. Nothing to make me stop reading completely, but nothing like ‘Fangirl’.