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Book review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline (2014)

by Rainbow Rowell
Published in 2014 by St. Martin’s Press.

Few authors of recent note have inspired my unwavering devotion like Rainbow Rowell. At this point, I’ve read all of her published work (Fangirl, Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and even her short story in the book My True Love Gave to Me), and can honestly say I love them all.

Still, if I had to choose a favorite… well, Landline wouldn’t be it, but that’s really only because I love everything else Rowell has written so much.

Landline is filled with charming, clever, and compelling prose, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel the same connection to the main characters (Georgie and her husband Neal) as I did to Cath and Levi in Fangirl, or Beth and Lincoln in Attachments. Or even the eponymous Eleanor and Park. To be honest, I just did not care about Georgie’s marriage and whether or not it fell apart. And that’s what this book is about: Georgie, a workaholic, chooses to stay at home and work on the screenplay for her new sitcom rather than go to her in-law’s house for Christmas. Then she discovers an old rotary phone in her childhood bedroom and discovers she’s able to call the past with it.

Criticism aside, the book flew by and I was eager to continue reading. I read the whole thing on the flight from London to Newark. I especially enjoyed the moments between Georgie and her best friend Seth, or between her and her younger sister. To me, Landline worked best when Georgie was interacting with people face-to-face and not worrying about Neal or arguing with him on the phone.

Overall, this is a very solid book, and is perfect for someone who likes adult contemporary fiction (with a bit of whimsy– I mean come on, there’s a magical phone that can call the past!) complete with a bit of marriage drama, adorable kids (meow), and a flawed, but ultimately strong, female protagonist.

And, of course, if you like reading books by Rainbow Rowell, you’ll like this one as well.


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