Thursday, July 02, 2015

Book Review: Landline

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 8, 2014 by St. Martin's Press
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Outlet
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has 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 home 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?

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 (Warning: Review may contain spoilers!)

Rainbow Rowell's Landline is one of those kind of books in which the synopsis excites you so much you just want to dive right into it as soon as you get your antsy hands on the book. But the moment you begin the story, your elation slowly depletes. Perhaps, it's different for other people, but personally, the idea of a "magic fucking phone" has completely deceived me.

I found the book slightly boring--mostly the beginning chapters. Yes, I enjoyed some parts, but overall, it's a bit slow and tedious for me. I literally was half-dazed while reading the first several chapters, my eyes constantly drooping. Some parts of the book, however, the funny parts to be specific, sort of became the novel's saving grace. The banters are witty; the jokes are clever; the conversations between Georgie and 1998 Neal are romantic . . .

Despite my clear disappointment with Landline, there are still a few things in the book that really tugged at my heartstrings. Rowell, as I have noticed, has a palpable consistency throughout her books, and she successfully achieves this through writing down diverse characters. In Landline, she has a gay Indian, an African-American, a cougar woman, a lesbian . . . Just some of the things that is commonplace in modern society. And in a way, this diversity really works because from what I know so far, there are not a lot of contemporary books that has an LGBT element in it; and yet, LGBT is one of the biggest topics in today's culture. It works because it makes the book more realistic (that is, if you set aside the "magic fucking phone" extravaganza.)

The second thing that I admire is Rowell's references. I like that it emphasizes the contemporary genre of the book even more. Some modern young adult books often have classical references--which isn't a bad thing--but I just think that if you're going to set a story in current time, the language and the references should equate to the time period as well. My AP English teacher told my classmates and I countless times before how in our essays, we should employ examples that is easy to understand and/or highly relatable. In that way, our arguments will have a stronger and more effective foothold. Rowell does exactly that. She refers to the A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket; the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling; the Whole Foods Market; Marty McFly from the Back to the Future movies . . . Just to name a few. These are all pop culture references that anyone can relate to in a single snap of a finger.

There are a couple of clichés in Landline, which I did not surprisingly mind . . . Because they are the kind of clichés that I actually like. For instance, the guy best friend is in love with girl best friend, but girl best friend doesn't reciprocate the romantic feelings because she's in a committed relationship with someone else. And the seemingly inevitable Christmas generosity amongst the people, which always reminds of that one particular scene in the movie Home Alone, where the mother has to get home to Kevin, the son she left home alone, but it becomes impossible due to the massive snowstorm, so this one band of men insisted they drive her home.

As I have mentioned before, the book is slow at times, but it still has scenes or parts that is warmheartedly enjoyable. The book is set around Christmas time, so I will personally recommend picking this book up around the same time. But if you're like me who is currently suffering under the sweltering summer sun, and you just want to read about the cold winter weather and presents under the Christmas tree, then go jump right into this one. Or if you just happen to be looking for some sort of break from your pile of TBR young adult books, Landline is the perfect adult book to get cozy with.

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Rainbow Rowell writes books. Some of her titles include LandlineEleanor & ParkFangirl, and Attachments. When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Website | Goodreads Page | Twitter

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