Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rainbow Rowell - Landline

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 besides the point now.
Maybe that was always besides 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?

Comment: This book wasn't part of my reading plans but as it was chosen for one of my book clubs I decided to give it a try. I was curious about the author's work, considering her fame nowadays and because I have another of her titles in my TBR so I was also interesting in seeing how I would like reading her style.

This is the story of Georgie and Neal's relationship. They met and got together, married and had children but their story, a it happens with so many couples, is also full of misunderstandings, missed expectations and things to concede and to demand.This book is the story of their marriage, of how they fell in love, of the people around them and of how a magical phone helped them cope with what could be the end of their marriage but is actually a chance of trying again.

Days after having finished this, I still don't know exactly how I'd classify my opinion about it. The plot is actually minimal and very quiet. Nothing big actually happens and I can summarize the plot like this: Georgie and Neal have a Christmas vacation planned on his mother's house but Georgie can't go - again - because of work. They seem to reach a stalemate about how their relationship is. Georgie stays, he goes with the kids. But Georgie loves them so she calls and one time, while doing with through her mother's house landline, she comes to the conclusion a Neal from the past is the one talking to her and not her "now" Neal. So Georgie is left with a choice, should she change things so her current life is better, or she should let things be? 

So that was the main plot. Of course, the majority of the book is actually Georgie remembering how her relationship with Neal developed, how work and friends affected the progress of their love and so on. Many things to wonder about and to weight in while managing both work and love.

I got that the main idea in this story is to show how a real marriage works, with so many issues to deal with, of how difficult is to meet expectations and accept to give up things to make the other happy. But this also gave a certain depressing tone to this book and I really had a hard time feeling eager to keep reading. I understand how a marriage is more than a relationship. It's a whole new level of something that two people have to make work and that even little things can amount to problems. But the way the author treated this was more on the hard, challenging side. Of course this is a valid point and it's the author's work, but personally it was too depressing.

Also on the minus column for me was the repeated remembering scenes which are part of the style I know, but they come too close to this being a sort of lovers reunited plot with a twist. The author is free to write the way she wants but for me this turned the story into something even more boring for me. I just couldn't stand reading things going back and forward all the time.
There are revelations which the reader can guess about one of Georgie's friends which I get why it was so, but that in the end didn't really affect Georgie herself, so why it was so ends up not being that important, because Georgie's issues are from another level.

I assume this author's work is very distinct. But based on this, I can't say I'm a fan. I hope that, by dealing with different subjects, the other book I want to read by her isn't as boring or depressing.
This story has an interesting theme, I grant it that. But really, the way the story is told feels so constricted, so forced to look troubled and even accepting the idea of people not dealing with marriage problems in the most considerate or practical way, after all, emotions can't be easily tamed, I still think all this was pushed to drama but without a better execution in terms of storytelling. For me, I mean!

It was interesting how the author chose to put Georgie dealing with her issues, the magical landline is an original way to do it, but did it really accomplish anything besides giving Georgie an opportunity to sort of have therapy? Because I'm confused by how that actually helped the marriage itself and the end still leaves me thinking what actually happened in all this.
There are secondary characters that I found interesting which is great but that, after all things considered, don't have a real importance to impact Georgie and Neal's marriage, which is the aim in this novel.

Anyway, in the end I don't feel impressed. I'm still interested in reading another book by the author but this one so well liked and graded and pimped out didn't feel that special to me...
Grade: 5/10

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