Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I think I first heard about Rainbow Rowell’s books when her book Fangirl started getting so popular. Oddly enough, I have yet to read that one. My introduction to her writing was from the book Eleanor & Park, which some friends of mine read together as a book club. Well, we’ve tried to be a book club. We have started on a few books, but I think Eleanor & Park was the only one we really managed to finish and then get together and talk about. We’re spread out all over the country, so we have to get together via Google Hangouts. It’s kind of a chore. Or we’re just not disciplined. Make of it what you will.

At any rate, I had seen friends reading Rowell’s newest book, Landline, over on Goodreads and decided it might be interesting to check out. I mean, literally, check out. I read most of my books on my Kindle, and I absolutely love the ability to check out books from the local library on your Kindle. There’s just usually a pretty long waiting list for the good ones. However, I did finally manage to get my (virtual) hands on Landline recently, and decided to give it a go since I’ve struggled with really getting into a lot of the other books I had started this year.

I lucked out. Landline ended up being one of the ones that I almost can’t put down. I love those kind. You know, the books that just hold your interest and you find yourself going back to them as often as you can so you can see what happens to the characters in the story? Just to give you a summary, Landline is about a woman named Georgie McCool, who is married to Neal. They have two children. It’s Christmastime, and something important comes up with Georgie’s work to where she is almost forced to stay in California where they live, while Neal continues on (with their kids) with the plan to go visit his family in Omaha over Christmas. While trying to focus on her work, Georgie ends up really missing Neal and wanting to work things out since he hadn’t been happy she stayed in Cali for the holiday. Then something sort of strange happens which forces Georgie to really examine their past and their relationship.

Landline was probably more about Georgie’s relationship with Neal than anything else. In Rainbow Rowell’s other book that I read, Eleanor & Park, the two main characters were teenagers, but Georgie and Neal definitely had a much more mature feel to their relationship. (And get your mind out of the gutter, I don’t mean “mature” THAT way.) This wasn’t a blossoming romance, although you did get to see that part of their relationship as well, through Georgie’s flashbacks. I won’t go into the specifics because I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but in a way, Neal and Georgie’s relationship could be typical of almost any couple’s relationship. And that’s what I loved about this book. Though there were magical moments, it wasn’t just some magical happy ever after. It was real, with all the problems and fights that come with relationships.

“Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.”

I loved Landline because it dove into the questions that we all have when in a relationship with a partner. Do they really love me? Are they really happy? Do I really love them? Am I happy? Should I have picked someone else? If you’re in any kind of long-term relationship, you can’t tell me you haven’t thought through some of these questions at some point. This book takes you through the main character’s journey to try to find answers to them – her journey to try to make the right decisions for her life. Life is full of choices, and none of us are always sure we are making the right ones. Heck, are there even really any right ones, or is it all just arbitrary?

“How does anyone ever know whether love is enough? It’s an idiotic question. Like, if you fall in love, if you’re that lucky, who are you to even ask whether it’s enough to make you happy?”

I thought Landline was a great book. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, because not only did I really get into it, I appreciated and agreed with the message. We may not have all the answers, and we may think sometimes we made the wrong choices, or at least we’re not sure about them. And that’s even more true about relationships, where the choices we make seem oh so important. But life is not defined, and the only thing we can do is make the choices we think are best and make the most of them. Which really is not always as hard as you might think.