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Landline: A Novel Hardcover – July 8, 2014

3.6 out of 5 stars 701 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014: In Landline, Rainbow Rowell once again shares her insightful, funny perspective on love and relationships, this time delving into a marriage floundering in the wake of kids, careers, and the daily grind. Georgie and Neal have been married for fifteen years and have two young girls who Neal cares for while Georgie works as a sitcom writer. When Georgie skips the family trip to her in-laws in Omaha for Christmas and the rest of her family goes without her, she realizes that maybe her marriage is going too. When a line to the past (literally) gives Georgie a chance to re-live an earlier pivotal moment in their relationship, she sees it as an opportunity to figure out if she and Neal should have been together in the first place. Landline is a deeply resonant story about being willing to go all in--at the start or after being together for many years--for the kind of love that makes “everything else just scenery.” --Seira Wilson


“The magic phone becomes Ms. Rowell's way to rewrite ‘It's a Wonderful Life'…what that film accomplished with an angel named Clarence, Ms. Rowell accomplishes with a quaint old means of communication, and for her narrative purposes, it really does the trick.” ―The New York Times

“While the topic might have changed, this is still Rowell--reading her work feels like listening to your hilariously insightful best friend tell her best stories.” ―Library Journal, starred review on Landline

“Her characters are instantly lovable, and the story moves quickly…the ending manages to surprise and satisfy all at once. Fans will love Rowell's return to a story close to their hearts.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Landline

“Rowell is, as always, a fluent and enjoyable writer--the pages whip by.” ―Publishers Weekly on Landline

“Keen psychological insight, irrepressible humor and a supernatural twist: a woman can call her husband in the past.” ―Time Magazine on Landline

“The dialogue flows naturally; it's zippy, funny, and fresh. The flirtation between young Georgie and Neal is genuinely romantic.” ―Boston Globe

“After the blazing successes of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Attachments, it's become clear that Rowell is an absolute master of rendering emotionally authentic and absorbing stories...While the novel soars in its more poignant moments, Rowell injects the proper dose of humor to keep you laughing through your tears.” ―RT Book Reviews on Landline

“To skip her work because of its rom-com sheen would be to miss out on the kind of swift, canny honesty of that passage, which is typical of the pleasures of Landline -- it's a book that's a joy from sentence to sentence, and on that intimate level there's absolutely nothing unoriginal or clichéd in the way Rowell thinks. Her work is dense with moments of sharp observation…and humor.” ―Chicago Tribune Printers Row

“But a focus on the endings is the wrong one when you're reading a book of Rowell's. What matters most are the middles, which she packs with thoughtful dissections of how we live today, reflections upon the many ways in which we can love and connect as humans, and tacit reassurances of the validity of our feelings regardless of our particular experiences.” ―Slate.com on Landline

Landline might not have any teenage protagonists, but it does have all the pleasures of Rowell's YA work -- immediate writing that's warm and energetic” ―Time.com

“More gentle, more real than Douglas Coupland, more smooth and also more clever than Helen Fielding. Truly, slowly, sweetly gorgeous.” ―The Globe & Mail


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250049377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250049377
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (701 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M.Jacobsen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a huge, huge Rainbow Rowell fan and have - up until now - absolutely loved every book she has written. (I've often said she could publish her grocery list and I'd give it 5 stars, ha!) So I was crestfallen when I turned the last page of her new novel LANDLINE and was forced to admit that I just did not care for this story.

Georgie McCool is a working mother two fabulous girls, married fourteen years to the love of her life, Neal. A television writer, Gracie finally - FINALLY - might have the chance of a lifetime: the shot at her own show with her writing partner and best friend-since-college, Seth. The only problem? They have to come up with a bunch of episodes in just a few days and it's the Christmas holidays. So instead of accompanying her husband and daughters to Omaha as they had planned, Georgie has to stay behind in LA and write her scripts.

Her husband is unhappy with this. Very unhappy. In fact, he might have left her. Georgie isn't entirely sure. No one is sure because Neal really isn't answering his cell phone. And whenever Georgie tries to call Neal's mother's house, Neal seems to be next door with his ex-fiance visiting. Or something.

And when Georgie's cell phone starts acting up, she desperately plugs in an old rotary phone she found in her Mom's house. {Enter magical realism part of story.} Can Georgie get Neal back? Can she give up everything she has worked for her entire life to make a man who has been unhappy for the better part of fourteen years happy?

You can probably tell why I disliked the book here. I really can't blame Rowell for taking the story a different direction than I wanted her to go....her story, her choice.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a little afraid to write a review for this book, since the fans are quite devoted and harsh with their likes and dislikes. But I read this book because of the raving fans...so I believe I should give them an authentic review.

First what I enjoyed. The relationship between Georgie and Neal reminded me of a real relationship. Reminded me of the good and bad times (it happens). Reminded me of being young again, back in college, falling in love with my long-time girlfriend and future wife. I was also in a long-distance relationship, so I felt a strong connection with the characters and how they both wanted to live in different places. I could relate when young Neal and Georgie called each other everyday from different states and it reminded me of good times. This book's take on young love was beautiful and I hope it puts a smile on other readers faces, as it did mine.

I also really enjoyed Heather's "pizza boy" a lot, and wish them the best!

But my criticism lies with the plot as a whole. For those who want a spoiler-free review: the plot, story and characters were not believable. Because of this, I did not enjoy the book. For more detail please read below.


-First off, the magic phone. It is never explained how or why it works, just the fact that it does randomly. How is this not addressed? At the end of the book, Neal tells her that he no longer has a landline at home. Does that mean that if she reconnects it and calls her Mother that she could talk to her older self? (ask for some lotto numbers, when people die...) Heck, why doesn't she just go back to her Mother's and call young Neil again. HE still has a landline.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so very excited about this one... Eleanor and Park is one of my favorites. In that book, Rainbow Rowell successfully made all sorts of people come to vivid life, and even, somehow managed to create sympathy for the unappealing characters, as difficult as that may have been. It must have been no easy feat to follow-up that book (which I predict will become a cult classic) and I imagine that most people's expectations would have been hard to meet.

All of that being said, although there was a wealth of humorous dialogue in this book, all of the characters seemed one-dimensional to me, and none were very likable, especially Neal, Georgie's dull, negative husband who never, ever exhibited one single spark that could explain the attraction between the two of them.

Basically, Georgie and Neal are married, have two young girls, and though Neal was once a comic book artist, he has opted to be a stay at home dad while Georgie is a staff writer for a successful comedy television show. Insert lots of whining from Neal, lots of guilty self-flagellation from Georgie, and you get the picture.

While her husband takes the girls to Omaha for Christmas, Georgie stumbles into some kind of time warp when she uses the old yellow landline in her girlhood bedroom. This takes her back 15 years to an earlier estrangement with Neal prior to their marriage. It seems that this relationship has been like a hamster on a wheel and has been the same over and over again. Neither party can either see or give what the other party needs. One of the keys to a successful relationship is having a lot of give and take in it, and honestly, in my marriage, that give and take comes so naturally that it doesn't seem like work. Georgie and Neal's entire marriage seems like a daily trudge up Mt.
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