Book Review: Landline

LandlineWell, Dear Readers, I’m less than a week from beginning the summer semester, and I only read one book (I attempted another, but had to put it down. I hate doing that, but life’s too short for bad books, ya know?).

So anyway, I don’t want to give away too much about Landline, but basically, it’s about Georgie, who is married to Neal and has two kids, and is also a career woman with a best friend/co-worker who has high expectations for her professionally. Over one Christmas, Georgie gets a huge project dropped in her lap, and decides to stay in California while her family goes to the Midwest without her.

During the first part of this book, I really felt something for Georgie. As a working mom myself, Georgie’s struggle to balance her work and home lives was all too familiar. She obviously loves her daughters fiercely, but she isn’t superwoman. Neal, her husband, is a stay-at-home-dad, and therefore, primary caretaker to their daughters. While Georgie knows she isn’t well suited to that role, it’s still difficult in our society – no matter what – to give that up as a woman. Plus, you truly do miss your children anytime you’re away from them, even if you’re fulfilled at work. I felt that Rowell did a great job of capturing this internal conflict.

But as the story wears on, and you find out more about Georgie and Neal’s marriage, I found it was more and more difficult to sympathize with Georgie. She spends a great deal of time in the middle of the book brooding about how she hasn’t been a very good wife to Neal. She blames this on her career, but it’s easy to see she had other options besides quitting her job or being a jerk to the love of her life.

By the end of the book, I knew what I wanted Georgie to do, and she eventually settles in a place I think most readers will be happy with, but it just felt like she spent entirely too much time being dumb about it. For that reason, the ending was a bit flat for me.

All in all, I’m glad I read this book – it does present a family story not often told, and when it is, the working mom is often far more one-dimensional than Georgie. It was decently written, and even though it felt laggy by the middle, the first part absolutely had me hooked. It’s even easy to suspend disbelief for the mysterious landline phone situation that crops up, which I know says a lot about a book. I would definitely recommend it to married people I know as it brings up some interesting points. But for people who aren’t in that stage of life, I’m not sure what the draw would be.

Have you read Landline? What did you think? What about other Rainbow Rowell books (yeah yeah, I know, I need to read Eleanor and Park. It’s on my list.)? Anyone reading anything good this week?

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