A lovely testament to the difficulties of being in a long term relationship, Landline explores some pretty basic themes with a twist. Landline is very different from Rowell’s other novels, more NA than YA as it mainly talks about a marriage.
Neal and Georgie have been married 14 years when Neal draws the final line in the sand; Georgie changes their plans to go to Omaha last minute when she decides to stay and work on her lifelong dream of having her own show with her co-writer, Seth. Neal refuses to cancel the trip and leaves for Omaha, taking their two young girls with him. Georgie is disappointed that they’ve left, but thrilled for the opportunity to propose their pilot to producers for the first time. She doesn’t realize something is wrong until Neal stops taking and answering her calls, then she begins to wonder if the trip meant more to Neal than she thought it did.
Rowell’s writing is as easy to read as ever. I didn’t find anything about this story in particular compelling, more that it felt genuine and the characters were relatable. The magic twist added momentum to the story that might have been lacking otherwise. Georgie spends most of the story in inner turmoil, wondering where she went wrong and if she can fix everything, and I found that inner turmoil the most compelling aspect of the book, even if it did make me feel uncomfortable at times.
Rowell unfolds the backstory over the course of the five days that take place in the story, and as always her timing seems perfect. When information is revealed in small chunks and drawn out, you begin to realize the full impact of their unique actions over time, just as Georgie was realizing the full impact of her own actions. I felt like I was in Georgie’s shoes, uncovering what I hadn’t been paying attention to for years, and wondering if it was too late to fix it.
The ending was perfect for the story, and couldn’t have happened any other way. No twists to muck up the simple ending, and I have to say I’m glad it was so simple. Sometimes the simplest solution is the final answer, and the one we have a hard time coming up with for its simplicity.