Finding Truth in Fiction: A Book Discussion of Landline

18081809Title/Author: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism, Family and Marriage

Published: July 8th, 2014 by St. Martin’s Press

Hardcover, 310 pages

How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?: HELLO? It’s Rainbow Rowell’s new book!!!! DUHHH!

Book Jacket Blurb: “Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?”

Thoughts:

You know, going into this book, I was expecting raw. I was expecting real. Rainbow Rowell always delivers that in her books. But this story in particular had something even more than that…

She brought magic to a realistic contemporary story. And it worked.

Georgie is a working wife and mother. And she has been given the opportunity for her dreams–what she has been working toward for the last 10 years–to come true! All she has to do is write a script….over Christmas. While her family goes on their Christmas visit to Grandma’s, Georgie stays behind to work on her dream.

Why did this story resonate with me? Because this is a very real story. A woman who has dreams, who has been working for years and years to try and make them happen, has to choose between spending the holidays with her family or the meeting that could make her dreams happen. This is an impossible choice she is put in, because while she is a mother and a wife, she is also a person with dreams and wishes and hopes. How is someone supposed to balance that?

I have a husband. And one day, I want to have children. But I also know that I want to become a school librarian, and I want to keep learning and growing in my professional life. And while I know that my chosen career is not as time consuming as some, I know that I want to pursue it with my whole heart.

Reading stories about broken marriages also resonates with me because I empathize and feel the pain that the characters are feeling. My personal experience and my undergraduate Family Studies background allows me to connect and feel stories like this.  Marriage is hard, marriage is stressful. And to read about a struggling marriage really hits me personally. Not because I am in a struggling marriage right now, but because all marriages can be a struggle, and it could be me. And I feel that emotion so real that I cannot help but connect with the story and love the story for the truly genuine and raw emotion that it delivers.

The structure of the story itself is really interesting. Once again, Rainbow Rowell creates an extremely personal story, even though the story is told in third person! This story is told over a series of days, which are introduced in divided sections. While this story has elements of flashbacks/alternate time, this story takes place in the present (with the exception of one small section, but it totally makes sense in the context of the story). This allows for the story to flow in an appealing and intriguing way.

I really didn’t want to stop reading this story because I was so intrigued by Georgie’s character. While she is flawed, and sometimes she is even a bit obnoxious, she is a real person. You know her. I know her. Sometimes, I am her. There is always such a genuine reality to Rowell’s characters, and Georgie is no different. And her relationship with Neal is a strange one. But who has a relationship that isn’t strange, honestly? There is a truth to this story that goes beyond it being fiction. This is a real story in every sense of the word, with real characters and a real life of its own.

So maybe this isn’t really a review. This really is more of just my thoughts on this story, as well as I can convey them. And I hope that I have done that.

If you have read this, let me know how you felt as you read this. If you haven’t read it, don’t feel left out! Ask me questions!

My Bookshelf Rating:

5shelfA Top Shelf Book!

Rainbow Rowell has done it again! She has created a truly beautiful and truthful story of a real person, of a real marriage, and of a real family. This story is emotionally raw, and even with magical elements, Landline is a very real story that readers can easily connect with. The structure allows for easy flow of reading, and once I picked it up, I just couldn’t put it down! Another beautiful story. Thanks, Rainbow!

Love and The Extinct Landline Phone,
Jennifer

 

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