I picked it up yesterday morning, after waiting forever on the library list, and drove to the Toyota dealership to get my car fixed. And I started reading. And I didn’t even notice that I was stuck in that disgusting waiting room for two hours, because Rainbow was with me, and everything was OK.
Was this my favorite of her books? I have no idea. Do I prefer sleeping or eating? Both are things I need to do to survive, but it’s hard to choose one that you like better. That’s how it is with me and this small collection of books, all written by an author I hadn’t even heard of two years ago.
What’s Landline about? A magic phone, you say? Harumph. That sounds so silly!
I know. It does. But it isn’t. Not at all.
It’s about growing up, and love, and family, and the mistakes we make along the way — some of which we can fix, and try to make better, and some of which we can’t. It’s about the beginning of relationships, when everything is shiny and perfect, and you can stay up all night, just talking. It’s about the middle of relationships, when you might be in a bit of a rut, but you can still see the shiny bits sticking out once in a while. And it’s about the end of relationships, when you feel like you’re drowning — and bringing your partner down with you — and don’t know what to do.
Georgie and Neal have been married for 15 years and have two daughters. Georgie is a pretty successful TV writer, along with her partner, Seth. Neal stays home with the girls and Georgie’s work has become all-consuming. She and Seth are about to sell their own show to the network, and need to work non-stop for the next few weeks. Oh, and it’s Christmas, and they are supposed to be taking the girls to Nebraska to visit Neal’s mom.
Of course Georgie stays home with Seth, and of course Neal flies off, and doesn’t even look back at Georgie when he leaves.
But then, Georgie finds out that she has a magic phone. A phone that can call her husband in 1998, right before they got married. Presently, he isn’t even speaking to her, and won’t answer any of her calls on his iPhone. But in 1998, he’ll answer his landline and talk to her all night, about anything and everything. And these conversations with the Neal-of-the-past open Georgie’s eyes to the way things have been going for the past 15 years, and the way that things might be if she doesn’t change something about the present.
Yes, yes, the story is wonderful. But it’s the language, the characters, and the writing that really get me. That’s why I need to read it again, right now, to go back and savor all of the bits that I might have missed because I really just needed to read it and put it into my brain as quickly as possible. How can you not love a book that describes that a new haircut might “feel like velvet one way and needles the other”? And a heroine named Georgie McCool? And these fully-realized supporting characters, like Kendrick, and Allison the pizza girl, who don’t have a lot of page-time, but make the most of it with little bursts of amazingness? Awesome.
Last night, when I was going to bed, I told my husband about the book. And then I told him that I was jealous of all the people out there who haven’t read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books yet, because they can still experience them for the first time. He isn’t a fiction guy, but I have him convinced to give one of them a try. (I think it will be Eleanor & Park, if only for the music references that he’ll really relate to). And I’m jealous that he doesn’t know what’s about to hit him.