Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Rating:★★★

Landline follows Georgie McCool, sitcom writer, as she dips into the past of her currently in pieces marriage, before she was even married.


Landline Rainbow RowellCalling her husband Neal through her childhood yellow landline she gets a shock when she discovers she’s talking to Neil in the 1990’s just before he proposed. She has to decide if she should let the past follow it’s natural course or give it a push in either direction.

I breezed my way through this novel in less than 24 hours. I found it quite gripping but similarly this was mostly because of the element of suspense. What would happen when Georgie and Neal eventually spoke.

My main reason for liking this book was the fantasy element. The yellow landline that broke the 4th dimension and aligned with a timeline that Georgie had already lived. However I was left feeling somewhat cut short by the ending, with no resolution and a lot of “let’s move past this and only discuss it with our eyes” narrative. One downside to this was that the ending was predictable, but I kind of liked that it was as I could relax and know that everything would work out okay.

Neal’s character was very underappreciated, though we got to know his 20 something self pretty well and in Georgie’s flashbacks I felt that his adult character wasn’t touched on enough and didn’t show his growth with their relationship. My favourite part about Georgie on the other hand was her name – Georgie McCool. I admired her dedication to her work but her personality also came across as rather selfish. Wanting a husband and a job and children but not being willing to contribute equally to all elements of what she wanted. She even admits at one point that her family would work as a tight knit group without her, which is an awful thing to acknowledge. She realises her mistakes, granted, but I still can’t put my finger on what I didn’t quite like about Georgie, because maybe I’m just not meant to. Seth’s character provided a great plot controversy but again I felt that his development was understated and the scene towards the end felt really unnecessary.

This book has a great concept and I would say that it is worth reading. This is the third of Rowell’s works I’ve read and I would rate it my 2nd favourite. Fangirl being no. 1 and Eleanor and Park being my current least favourite. I enjoy her writing style but like with Eleanor and Park, I feel that Landline could have portrayed the characters with a bit more substance. The point of the book is to think about the past and this does it quite well. I imagine that in the future, if I’m graced with a family like Georgie’s I’ll look on her situation quite differently and maybe even empathise with her.

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