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 besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides 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 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?
Jacque and I were lucky enough to score ARCs of this one at BEA this year. We reviewed Fangirl last year and both really enjoyed it, so we were definitely excited to make Rainbow's new book for adults one of our read alongs. I enjoyed a couple of things about this book: First, the concept is really cool. I have always been fascinated with the idea of time travel so the idea of making a phone call to someone at a time in your past is so cool and so intriguing. Second, I loved Seth and Scotty. Namely Seth. The scenes at the office with those two were by far my favorite in the book and often had me chuckling out loud.
Unfortunately, this book was a DNF (did not finish) for me. There were two reasons that I couldn't really get into it. First was all of Georgie's internal dialogue and the dismal state of her marriage. It was written really well. Too well. I read to escape, and I find it hard to enjoy a book when the main character is miserable the whole time. Frankly, it brings me down. And that's not what I want to be feeling as I read. Anxiety of a struggling marriage? Too real. I don't want to turn to fiction for that. I can call one of my girlfriends and listen to her over-analyze the state of her marriage instead. That's not fun for me to read, and I (mostly) read for fun.
Secondly, the book is largely made of flashbacks. I've ranted before on my feelings about flashbacks. I understand why they can be necessary. But if it gets to the point where the story doesn't seem to be moving forward at all because all the authors keeps doing is flashing back, then I cannot deal. I need a story to have forward motion to hold my interest, and quite simply, you can't keep moving forward if you keep looking back.
I tried to keep reading, but in the end I decided that if I'm going to spend time reading a Rainbow Rowell book, it should be Eleanor and Park, which I've heard from so many people is made of amazingness, but which I haven't read.
This is one of the books that I was really excited to pick up at BEA this year. I loved Fangirl and couldn't wait to read her latest release. When Flo told me she had to pull the plug after about 16 chapters, I was a little nervous.
Georgie is in her mid 30's and is the mother of two young girls. She works long hours as a comedy writer for a television series while her husband, Neal, is a stay-at-home dad. He does an amazing job of taking care of the girls, the house, cooking, and in general holding the family together. Just before Christmas Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, pitch their dream show to an interested network. Now they need to write a few episodes to present at a meeting just after Christmas. The only problem is that Georgie and her family were planning on traveling to Omaha to visit Neal's Mom for the holiday. Georgie decides to stay in L.A. to work while Neal takes the girls as planned.
Georgie and Neal's relationship has been strained for a while and this may be the last straw. Georgie tries to call Neal's cell phone several times after he leaves, but she can't get through. She finally resorts to using her Mom's landline to call Neal's Mom's landline and miraculously she is able to reach Neal. There is one apparent catch. Neal sounds a lot younger than he does now. He sounds like he did when they first started dating and his Dad is apparently still alive. (He died several years ago.) Rather than finding a time machine, Georgie has a phone that takes her back to Neal as he was in 1998. Will she be able to repair their relationship now that she knows how things play out 15 years later? That is exactly what Georgie attempts to do.
The flashbacks allow the reader to see how Georgie and Neal's relationship developed and where things went off track. The concept of a landline taking one back into the past is an ingenious idea in this cellular world. Much like a Walkman or a VCR, children today probably don't even know what a landline is.
The only complaint that I have about this book is the fact that we don't get to know Neal very well. We witness Georgie's struggles, but we don't know how the separation is affecting Neal. Is Georgie reading more into the situation than is necessary? Is she overreacting? We don't know because we have no idea what Neal is thinking.
The separation is a reality check for Georgie. She begins to realize what is most important in her life and I was happy to see her take action. The ending was perfect, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. If you enjoy Sarah Dessen's books, I would highly recommend Landline.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
If you had an opportunity like Georgie to talk now to someone in your past, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Don't forget to include an email address with your comment so we have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!