Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Book ReviewLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Also by this author: Attachments
Published by Macmillan on 2014-07-08
Genres: Contemporary Women, Family Life, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

From New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones. Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.Maybe that was always beside the point.Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . .Is that what she’s supposed to do?Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

There is something that Rainbow Rowell just seems to innately get about relationships. After reading Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and now Landline, I am convinced that Rowell is the master of writing about intimacy and its myriad forms. I’ve seen Rowell’s latest, Landline, described as being akin to a romantic comedy but personally, the book made me sad more often than it made me laugh. I think this book will hit close to home for many readers who have experienced a long term relationship or marriage.

Landline follows Georgie McCool, television comedy writer through the potential unraveling of her marriage. The book opens with Georgie discovering that her and writing partner Seth have been invited to pitch their longtime dream and show idea in front of a network head. The only problem is that the meeting is right after Christmas and they need to have four scripts by then. Georgie and her husband Neal have been planning a trip to Omaha to visit Neal’s mother with their two daughters, Alice and Noomi. Georgie makes the decision to stay home and continue to work on the scripts. To her surprise, Neal packs the girls up and heads to Omaha without her.

Georgie’s family, her mother and sister Heather and stepfather Kendrick think that Neal’s going to Omaha portends Neal’s leaving her and divorce. Georgie is bereft at this thought. She is desperate to contact Neal but finds herself either running out of cellphone battery or always reaching Neal’s voicemail or one of the girls. So, at wit’s end, Georgie goes to her mother’s house and uses the landline to dial Neal’s mother’s landline. It’s there that she discovers she is talking to past Neal. Georgie must come to grips with the question of whether she and Neal should have gotten married or not.

Frankly, Rainbow Rowell’s Landline hit me like a train. Although I have not been married, I have been in a committed relationship for about seven years. It was startling to see the ups and downs of my long term relationship mirrored in Georgie’s relationship with Neal. As readers, we see how Georgie fell in love with Neal and then how she is so desperately clutching at the last grasps of her marriage. We see that she makes some interesting choices that have interesting consequences. We see that there’s no easy answers here. I mean, should you have to give up your dreams for the sake of marriage, or should both be able to coexist? Georgie and Neal are very different people. They have to work hard at their marriage. I think that most people have to work hard at their marriages and relationships once the honeymoon phase has passed. Landline does a fantastic job showing how relationships grow and change over time, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. It is an honest book is what I am saying.

The writing in Rainbow Rowell’s latest book is much along the lines of her previous books. If you liked how Fangirl and Eleanor & Park were written, I believe that you will enjoy how Landline is written. I personally found myself folding over quite a few pages, as much of Rowell’s passages spoke to me. I think Landline is exactly what I want when I read contemporary adult fiction. I want a book that is relatable, that understands relationships, that gets to the heart of emotions we have all felt. Landline does not get bogged down in overly descriptive or ornate phrasing. It is an incredibly readable book. I would recommend it if you are someone who perhaps reads a lot of young adult fiction and want to try dipping your toes into adult fiction. While the themes are vastly different from that of young adult fiction, this book is completely accessible.

Overall, I just really loved that Georgie was a complex and occasionally unlikeable character. She has actual humanity to her. I think that people may have a hard time liking Georgie because she occasionally chooses her career over her husband and as a society we are told that our family roles are more important than our aspirations. Which, perhaps there is some validity to that. However, this book really had me considering the various hats I wear as a person and which hat is the most important to me and whether I could wear more than one hat. Really, Georgie McCool had me thinking and reflecting and I cannot ask more from a character or a book. I absolutely recommend Landline if you enjoy reflecting on what you read and considering books in relation to your own life.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I totally agree with your review. I listened to the audiobook and had a lot of the same feelings. And yes, I’d describe the tone as more melancholy then romcom for sure. The story is so relatable for people in longterm relationships, but yeah I can see YA readers liking it too. Readable is a good word for Landline.

    Awesome review!

  2. I agree with your review so much. When I read the book I thought “Wow, she really gets relationships.” They aren’t easy. They take a LOT of work. I love that both people in the relationship changed because, in my experience, people do change and you have to adapt to those changes to make things work.

    I agree that sometimes Georgie can be unlikable, and that just made her realistic. We are all unlikable sometimes. I can’t wait to read what Rainbow Rowell does next

  3. While I really enjoyed watching and learning about Georgie and Neal’s relationship, the magic phone just didn’t do it for me. It seemed a little cheesy (just my opinion!). But Rowell really does get relationships, doesn’t she?

  4. With every review I read about this book, I get more and more intrigued. I am such a huge fan of Rowell’s work and am looking forward to reading a contemporary adult fiction by her. Thanks for the great review!

  5. I think you really nailed it on the head when you said that Landline is an honest book. I couldn’t agree more.

    I really liked this one. I was also thinking about how women in particular have the pull from both their careers and their families. I really did like Georgie (and I am someone who has to like the MC to like the book). I understood where she was coming from.

  6. “I mean, should you have to give up your dreams for the sake of marriage, or should both be able to coexist?” — This is awesome. I have an audiobook of this and cannot wait until I can get a print copy so I can read them both together. Like pretty much everyone, I have loved everything RRowell has written. If you have not read Attachments (you did not list it), I think you will love that one too. I stayed up until 5am reading it. It was one of my top 3 reads of last year and it was characterization for sure.

    Great review. I can’t wait to read this one.

  7. I loved this one too! The flashbacks make this one accessible for Rowell’s teen fans as well, though I still think adults will like it more.


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