This post contains spoilers.
I’ve wanted to read Landline ever since it came out. Unfortunately, it’s taken me until now to actually pick it up but fortunately, I quite enjoyed it. The concept has always stood out to me and while I’ve read her three young adult books: Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, and Carry on. I hadn’t read this or her other adult book Attachments. I was intrigued by the plot of this book but also the fact that it was aimed at adults. I really like Rowell’s writing and I was curious to see what I would think when it came to a different target audience.
I have to say, I do still love her writing. There were definitely differences from her young adult books but all of them make sense. Landline is about a woman who is apart from her husband (Neal) and children close to Christmas and she begins to have conversations on the phone with Neal, only he’s from 1998 (the book is set in 2013). The situations and even just the thought process of the characters are of course going to be different compared to the previous stories and characters I’ve read from Rowell before.
All that being said, I did like the plot. I enjoyed the concept of Georgie’s old rotary phone connecting her to Neal and having it so that he is from 1998 and she’s in 2013. I like the possibility that the phone call was meant to happen and that Neal really did experience it in the 90s. I love that he seemed to recall the conversations a couple of times at the end but not fully to confirm it. The thing I liked the most is that it’s never fully explained how this happened. It also worked really well that book was split up. Sometimes it was Georgie in the present just getting on with things, other parts were conversations with 1998 Neal, and the rest of the book was flashbacks. Between formatting and the writing, it was all incredibly easy to follow and you knew straight away when each chapter and/or section was set.
I didn’t necessarily give it the best rating (spoiler: I gave it 3/5). That was mostly because I didn’t really connect to most of the characters and it just wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. I got over the story pretty quickly while I was reading and I couldn’t wait to finish. I did have a good time but I don’t know if I would rush to re-read it. I do recommend checking it out, it just wasn’t quite there for me.
Speaking of characters real quick though, I mostly just felt indifferent about them. They were all fairly entertaining and I liked reading about all of them. Heather was a really great character and so was Alison even though she was hardly in it. I do think that Seth was my favourite character. Mostly because he’s completely flawed but he’s still very true to who he is. It seems like he tries to be a good person but even then he still has his flaws. I just think he was super interesting and I really didn’t think he would be my favourite character. I also appreciated that even though he considered what could have been if he and Georgie had ended up together and there was that moment where he told her he loved and implied he was only happy when he was with her, it stopped there. It stopped before his and Georgie’s friendship could be ruined. Part of me thinks that scene with them towards the end wasn’t completely necessary but I do like that we got some confirmation that she is his best friend and he loves her a lot. I enjoyed those moments because we normally see Seth and Georgie’s relationship from her point of view and it was nice whenever we saw it from his side.
At the end of the day, I had a perfectly good time reading Landline. It was an interesting concept, the characters are all pretty likable (or at least they’re all okay to read about), and it’s well written. It just didn’t hit as well as I thought it would. I would still recommend giving it a shot, especially if you like Rainbow Rowell’s previous work.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ /5