I was instantly hooked the moment I came across Rainbow Rowell’s genius. As a bookshop owner, orders for Rainbow Rowell’s books are coming left and right, so much so that I’m left scrambling where to find suppliers for them. At the back of my head, I was thinking, “What’s making this author so special?” So one day I decided to rip the seal off my stocks and reserved a set for me, intending to read it and sell it as “preloved” once I’m done.
That’s when I realized my first mistake – there’s no way I’m giving up my Rainbow Rowell copies. They’re mine.
I first read Eleanor and Park, and I spent several long nights speculating about Eleanor’s three-word missive to Park. “You’re a dad.” “I love you.” “I miss you.” “I’m coming home.” These statements are among my favorites. But nevermind that, this review is about Rainbow’s latest novel, Landline.
The day Landline was released in the Philippines, I immediately rushed to my local bookstore to grab a copy. I bought a bar of my favorite chocolate, cancelled plans with my boyfriend (who’s used to me disappearing when I have a new book), and settled for a cozy night at home. I opened the book and… well, the magic stopped there. I’m really sorry I cancelled plans for it.
Don’t get me wrong, Landline is still a beautiful book. It is still filled with witty prose that is as expected from Rainbow Rowell, but for me it felt a tad like a feeble effort to replicate Sarah Addison Allen’s wonderful stories, or even Cecelia Ahern’s mystical yet realistic novels. The magic that made me fall in love with Rainbow Rowell is gone.
Perhaps, that word is to be blamed for my disappointment. Unlike Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, and Attachments, Landline had a magical aspect. The plot is how Georgie McCool found a landline in her old bedroom that calls the younger version of her then-boyfriend (now husband) Neal, traveling about a decade or so into the distant past. Present-day Georgie and Neal’s marriage has been difficult recently, and Georgie is second-guessing her major decisions in life. Through the telephone wires and magic, present-day Georgie and past-Neal work together to heal a rift in their present-day marriage.
It’s not that confusing, it may even be refreshing for some (if you’re into that sort of thing). However, it’s not very Rainbow.
See, I loved Rainbow’s characters. I love how strong they are and how witty and funny they are, how they grow and develop and confront their demons. Georgie, while she has a very successful career and her own best friend (other than her husband), regressed into the portrayals of women in the past as she literally couldn’t even bathe or go to her own house, all because she’s afraid of leaving a yellow telephone behind in case her boyfriend calls. It’s like Rainbow took an axe and chopped off the pedestal I placed her upon.
I guess I’ll have to see her future novels. If they’re anything like Landline though, I may just sell her books and not collect them anymore.
🙂 written by: Ellie Peaches Pants 🙂