So I’ve been meaning to write this post for about a month now, but I think I just couldn’t do it because if I wrote it too closely to finishing the book, the whole thing would have just been me saying, “I love this book! You have to read it! DO IT NOW.” But I think now I can finally write this recommendation with actual reasons why I love it, rather than just throwing hearts at my computer screen.
This is not the first book by Rainbow Rowell to turn up on my Recommended Reading. Last year, I fawned over Eleanor & Park (and rightly so), and of course I’ve also read and adored Fangirl. I’m kind of enamored with Rowell, just a little bit. But this has easily become my favorite of hers so far–or at least tied with E&P–since I haven’t yet read Attachments.
On the one hand, Landline is exactly what you would expect from Rainbow Rowell: Witty dialogue, quirky characters, and all the feels. But on the other hand, I think what made this really cross the line into “favorite” territory was that concept of the magical landline phone–and Georgie’s reaction to it. Georgie is such a spunky person, and I think her response to discovering this, eh-hem, technology is spot on. Instead of just going with the flow like a lot of books with some sudden magical element to them might do, Georgie had the perfectly reasonable reaction of thinking she was going crazy. I know if I had a cool yellow rotary phone that started making phone calls to the past, I’d be freaking out, too, not matter how cool and yellow it was.
I also just love that Rowell had this magical element, but it was used so sparingly and as a catalyst for certain situations, both involving her husband, Neil, and the rest of her family. A lot of the book deals with Georgie trying to work out everything going on around her: The developments on her TV show, the state of her marriage, and this dang phone that shouldn’t work like it does. I always enjoy looking at how people analyze and deal with situations, and Georgie’s whole process and experience made me feel so many feelings across the spectrum, and I think any book that manages to do that to me is noteworthy.
Another thing I enjoyed was the way the story was told through what was occurring in the present as well as flashbacks to the beginning of Neil and Georgie’s relationship. I think those were some of my favorite parts, to be honest, because it was the blossoming of this beautiful relationship that, back in the present, was having adult troubles. It’s like the flashbacks were respites from Georgie’s real life in the moment. I think Rowell does a great job blending different aspects of the story here much like she did in Fangirl with pieces of Cath’s fanfiction and the Simon Snow series mixed within the rest of the story. It’s a strategy she knows how to use effectively, which is convenient for me because it’s one I really enjoy when it’s done well.
For some reason, even though this novel was notably less relatable to me than either Eleanor & Park or Fangirl at this point in my life, it fascinated me and broke my heart enough that I’m so totally in love with it. Certainly this book didn’t just make me cry the whole way through, though; there were plenty of times I was smiling hard and laughing outright at the ridiculous situations Georgie would get herself stuck in. And other times I just got mad. I mean, so irritated with characters. But like I said, I like when a book runs the gamut of emotions. It makes the ride a bit more exciting, if a little stressful.