Sunday, July 13, 2014
Book Review: "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie McCool is a successful sitcom writer, a job she has dreamed of for as long as she can remember. She and her best friend, Seth, have been a comedy team since college, and they have risen through the ranks of the comedy writing world. They're finally working on a commercially successful show, despite the fact that they hate the comedian who is the star, and they dream of someday having their own show, the show they've thought of and planned for since they first met.
Georgie and her husband, Neal, have dated since college. While they both truly love each other, and the family they have created with their two young daughters, they don't always get along. But what married couple does, right? Maybe Georgie doesn't try as hard as she could, maybe she's not as fully involved in taking care of the girls as Neal is. And maybe Neal resents Georgie's weird symbiotic relationship with Seth all these years. But every couple has issues.
"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?"
One day, Georgie and Seth finally get the news they've been hoping fortheir dream show has been given the go-ahead by a network executive to be a mid-season replacement. They have just a few days to come up with the first several scripts. The only problem is, it's two days before Christmas, and Neal, Georgie, and the girls have plans to go to Nebraska to visit Neal's mother. But Georgie says she has to stay in Los Angeles, as she can't give up this dream.
Georgie is reeling from Neal's departure, and her fears that this may be the crushing blow to their marriage. One night she finds a way to communicate with college-aged Neal, at a moment when their relationship was at a crossroads. Although she fears continuing to speak with "past Neal" might ruin something in the future (a la Back to the Future), she can't tear herself away, and at the same time, she can't help but wonder whether there's some cosmic opportunity to try and fix something in their relationshipand whether she should stop it this time before it took off.
I read Landline in a day. While I didn't love it as much as Rowell's earlier books, I really, really enjoyed it. As I've said numerous times before, I'm sappy enough to enjoy stories of making love work through difficult times, and I guess I've read enough books with gimmicks like these that I didn't have any trouble with this plot twist either. In fact, I imagined what I would do if I had the same opportunity Georgie did.
If I have any criticism of Landline, it's that the characters are all fairly unsympathetic. From time to time, I wanted to shake nearly every one of them to say what they were thinking, to prevent something major from happening, although I know that's pretty much like life is. But I just love the way Rowell writes, so even with cranky characters, she has the ability to charm me and keep me reading. Can't wait for her next one!!