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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Landline: A Novel

There are books that just sit in my queue forever and a half and then I get them and wonder what on earth my problem is that I didn't pick them up earlier. This book, Landline by Rainbow Rowell, is exactly that type of book.

Georgie is a successful sitcom writer with a husband, Neal, her college sweetheart, and two beautiful young daughters. When Georgie and her writing partner get a call from a wealthy television network owner asking for a new show as a midseason replacement, Georgie opts to skip Christmas with Neal and the family in Nebraska and stay behind in Los Angeles to write the scripts. Neal is furious and refuses to pick up his cell the whole time he is gone. However, when Georgie calls him at his parents from her childhood bedroom on the landline, he picks up. Soon Georgie realizes that something is off -- she is talking to 1998 Neal! The only other time they were separated and fighting was the holidays senior year when their relationship was on the line. Georgie soon finds herself wondering if it was all meant to be. Can she save her relationship by going all the way back almost two decades? 

Real talk: I loved this book. Adored it. Couldn't put it down then couldn't wait to pick it up again. I was shockingly involved in the story and I loved it. It was a bit of fantasy without being fantasy, it was a bit of a love story without being at all schmaltzy, and it was a bit of a madcap comedy while still being heartfelt.

I adored Georgie, the main character. She is such a successful woman who appears to be holding it together on the outside while still being a flawed person as we all are. She feels deep down that she isn't a good mother, she can't remember the last time she bought new clothes, and she knows how often she makes her husband mad with her career. Not in the anti-feminist "women shouldn't have jobs" way, but in the "I'm sorry I couldn't make it to our daughter's birthday party I was really engrossed in my writing" way. It's easy to relate as a working woman and the exhaustion that comes with having the job you always wanted -- you have to work to keep it. Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, have been best friends since college, even before Neal came along, and this causes some tension in the relationship. Everything about Georgie and her family and friends was real. All the way down to her daughter's belief that she is a cat. [I actually know a friend in a similar situation.]

Now for what to do when you pick up your high school phone plugged into the wall and find yourself talking to your husband from 14 years ago. I am not quite sure what I would do in this circumstance. It was fun to sit and think on, especially deciding who I would want to talk to from 1998. My high school sweetheart? Nah, I'm happy with the way things turned out. He has a lovely wife and the family he always wanted (and frankly, I didn't). My high school best friend? No, thanks, we haven't spoken in years and that's probably for the best. My future life partner when he was in high school? Now that's an idea worth exploring.

All of this to say that I was blown away by how much I found myself nose-to-page with this book. I wish it hadn't taken me as long as it did for me to finally check it out from the library, but I also believe we find these things when we need them. I needed Georgie in my life this week, and I'm glad she found her way to me. 

For purchase below. 

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