I’d only ever heard of Rowell by way of her YA book “Eleanor & Park”, and I’m not very enthused about YA literature in general. But after this book, I actually might go back and read/listen to that one. Anyway, I think I noticed Landline because of the slightly fantastical concept of talking to the past (more on that soon). It is not exactly time-travel (which I love) but it’s close enough. Hence the book. And am I glad.
Georgie McCool is a comedy writer for television show “Jeffed Up”. When she gets an opportunity to pitch a new television show during the Christmas holidays she takes it. The downside here is that she’ll have to miss going to Omaha with the rest of her family – husband Neal, and daughters Noomi and Alice. Neal doesn’t like the situation, and Georgie knows it. Their relationship is already suffering through Georgie’s long, erratic work hours and Neal’s brusqueness as house-husband, and this new turn of events makes Georgie think that this might be it.
At her mother’s house during this time, Georgie tries to call Neal from the landline and discovers that she is speaking to the Neal of 1998, a time when they were only dating and had had their first big fight for almost the same reasons. As present-day Georgie and 1998 Neal go back and forth airing hopes and fears (Neal not aware of the time difference) Georgie knows that this conversation will decide their fates.
Landline was a very romantic book. This is not gushing, tripping-over-your-feet romance, but a more measured, mature love. Neal is quite swoon-worthy – a husband who takes care of the home and kids, lets Georgie follow her dream, tolerates Georgie’s close friendship with handsome co-writer Seth, and is unfailingly romantic. Georgie and Neal’s relationship questions actually hit home, because you find yourself identifying with the many problems in their marriage, as the stuff of real life.
This deals with a lot of stuff but is not “heavy”. Also I quite like the narrator Rebecca Lowman. I have heard her earlier (when I listened to Nicholas Spark’s Safe Haven), and she doesn’t disappoint. Lowman’s voice is a little husky and can seem almost dry sometimes, but she uses it to good effect. A very good listen, this one.
P.S. : I wonder, had the genders been reversed, had Georgie been the housewife and Neal the busy writer, would we have tolerated Georgie throwing a hissy-fit over Neal’s absence on the Omaha trip, or would we have expected her to just lump it?