Well, I didn’t do my 4 books this month, but I DID get three checked off my list! Landline by Rainbow Rowell was, again, sent to me by Sara Lily (who is basically fueling my book list right now, ha!) and it has been my favorite so far.
But before I get into the review, of course, here is the synopsis (via the back of the book):
“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 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?”
I have never read anything by Rainbow Rowell, and honestly… I didn’t think it would be my thing. The summary certainly sounds like something I would like, but the first few parts were a little bit shaky and I wasn’t convinced that the story would be carried out well. To be frank, I found the first chapter (or part…? The chapters are broken up into days, occasionally) to be boring and I wasn’t too interested in anyone. But for the sake of at least getting three books read in January, I soldiered on!
It begins with Georgie arriving home late again from work, and wandering through the house to find her husband,Neal, putting their girls to bed and letting one of them stay up a little late to watch cartoons. There is some background explanation, some reminiscing, and a little bit of setup as to how life goes in the house. It’s a very quiet, unassuming way to open a book, and almost too familiar to begin; I needed more to relate to the characters before I started out in a quiet night in their house.
But it picks up quickly after Neal leaves for Christmas at his mom’s house with their two girls, leaving Georgie behind to work on the TV deal she’s been waiting for her entire life. He’s mad, she’s uncertain and a bit selfish, and everything is up in the air.
We follow Georgie through life, to work, where she is partner to her best friend, Seth, in working on the big TV deal they’ve been dreaming of forever. Seth is quickly established as the pretty boy, the guy that Georgie met and somewhat categorized as her soul mate. In the early years of their friendship, she expected that she would just have to wait out his youthful and foolish years through the string of girls he dated/slept with, and someday they’d be a thing. It never happened.
I half expected something to happen between them as the story progressed, even though it’s increasingly obvious that Neal is Georgie’s soul mate through and through, and I was… well, happily surprised and also sort of right. I won’t spoil it for you, but… y’know. Read the book.
As the story progresses, Georgie is reluctant to return to her cold, empty home so she instead starts to stay with her mom under the excuse that it’s closer to work. After Neal ignores all of her phonecalls, she gets frustrated with her always-dead iPhone (whose battery no longer works, thus it has to be plugged in to be on) and resorts to using her old landline that still operates perfectly. And that’s when she gets a surprise. Somehow, by some twist of time, the landline calls Neal… before they were married. Right after she thought they broke up.
Georgie spends the next few days calling Neal over and over again, talking for hours on end, struggling at work, trying to figure out how to balance Seth and Neal — because both are semi-jealous of the other — and trying to figure out what she is supposed to do with this fortuitous magical phone. Because Neal-of-the-now is unhappy. He has never said it, but she knows he’s unhappy. They are living her life, in a place he’s not too fond of, doing all the things she dreamed of doing, and she’s been taking advantage of Neal’s nature to do what pleases her. So, she struggles to decide; is this magic phone meant to have her break it off with Neal before it started? To heal up the wounds she’s created? To somehow change their relationship for the better? As she works it over and talks to Neal, you can see her struggle, see how much she loves him, and also see how much he loves her.
I was more and more enchanted by the simple problem and the deep love story as Rowell wrote about their past, how they met, how things went wrong, and how Georgie felt through it all. At the core, Landline is just a love story. A simple boy-meets-girl (or in this case, girl-stalks-boy-and-takes-over), couple-falls-in-love, and things-go-wrong story. But the way it’s written was absolutely captivating and I am not kidding you, I could not stop reading it. I started two days ago and finished most of it today.
Probably the highest compliment I could pay this book is that Landline is the type of book that makes me want to write. And not because I want to do better (which can be the case a lot), but because I want to do to others what this book did to me. I love stories like this. Because at the heart, it’s not actually a romance; it’s the story of life. Real, messy, funny, heartbreaking, beautiful life.
As for the outfit, the back of the book is the exact color of this skirt so obviously I had to wear it. I decided to cut out the lining that the skirt came with because it was all tight and bunchy and weird; thankfully I have a pink slip, which works perfectly! Once again, I never really would have thought to put all of these items together (maybe the belt and skirt) until I saw the book cover. I think reading 52 books this year might just be the catalyst to getting more creative with my wardrobe again!
I’ll be honest: this belt is actually just a bit too small — it belts, but doesn’t stay belted because my waist isn’t back to normal yet so it doesn’t have enough wrapping around to stay put. I may or may not have pinned it and made a hole in it. But… it was a 50 cent belt, so… oh well.
Flower crown (old) c/o Choies | Tights and Tee, Target | Vintage brooch, skirt, and heels, thrifted
So now I am off to write, and then tomorrow I get to meet the very person who has sent me so many fantastic books! I am beyond thrilled, you guys! Sara Lily will be the third blogger I’ve met in person — first was Marlen, second Hilary — and I’m hoping that we can possibly do a little secret project I’ve had in the back of my mind for whenever I meet bloggers. You’ll only see what it is if I get it done with her and Hilary.
I hope you all have a great weekend! Happy (very late) Saturday!