Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
*e-book purchased from Amazon*
4.5 stars/Grade A
Attachments is not a typical Rainbow Rowell book — it is an adult book and adults who are in their late 30s. The story centers on two adults, after they fall in love, after they are married and after the kids come. This is a romance and a novel that begins after the pinnacle achievements of most other romance novels. Pick up any romance novel and turn to the end — what does it end with? I love you or a wedding or a birth (maybe in the epilogue …). Rainbow’s stories are entertaining and loving, funny and engaging but her stories do not approach love and life in the same way as other authors and in that way, Landline is a typical Rainbow Rowell book.
To be expected with Rainbow Rowell is the writing of intense friendships – and Landline has that; funny every day humor — Landline has that; and the addressing of basic everday life issues — Landline has that. But it starts with what happens after all the ideal stuff is done:
“While Neal had come into focus over the years — clean-jawed, clear-eyed, Georgie has lost her own reflection in the mirror.”
The opening of Landline hit me hard. See my profession is an all consuming long hours type of work, I typically work anywhere from 50 to 80 hours a week and I often have to travel. And, I have children. To survive this and have a stable life – -my husband is at home with the kids. More families are definitely doing this, but many times I feel like we are the first people ever to do this arrangement because the stuff we encounter is feels like stuff I am the first ever to try and solve. Attachments is a lot about my life and Rowell got it so right — the stress and guilt of working long hours, the pull between one spouse that is at the house and creating this near perfect life for our kids and the job that takes one spouse away so often but funds that life.
“When I wake up on Sunday mornings – late you always let me sleep in – and come looking for you, and you’re in the backyard with dirt on your knees and two little girls spinning around you in perfect orbit. And you put their hair in pigtails, and you let them wear whatever madness they want, and Alice planted a fruit cocktail tree, and Noomi ate a butterfly, and they look like me because they’re round and golden, but they glow for you.”
But I promise, Rowell makes it funny, engaging and romantic. Embedded in the struggle to solve the problem between the main character and her husband, are flashbacks to the main character’s college days and beginning of the romance between her and her husband. So even though Rowell begins her non typical romance after all the fun stuff have happened, she gives her readers the beginning romance too.
“Neal didn’t take Georgia’s breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay — that was really good, actually to be near someone who filled your lungs with air.”
How do two people merge their lives together and come out happy? Is happiness even possible? Can people and love move past hurt and having failed each other? Yes, because life isn’t perfect and love is rarely ideal. Rowell writes that non ideal and non perfect world so well. Like her other books, Elenaor and Park, Attachments and Fangirl, the heroes aren’t perfectly ideal looking. The husband, Neal, is 5’6” and Georgia, the main character, is described as “round”. And I love that, I love to see real humans in the books I read rather than living vicariously through a playboy type fantasy of a female character. Ms. Rowell, whatever you write I will read.
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