LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has earned one of my rare five-star ratings. I wish I could find a list, somewhere, of an oddly specific genre that this fits into. (Like on Netflix, “Critically Acclaimed Fight-the-System Documentaries.” “Dark Independent Dysfunctional Family Movies.”) I don’t know of many other stories with a time travel component, that don’t involve saving the entire world or fighting aliens or something along those lines.

This was an intimate, relatable time travel-ish tale, about Georgie’s marriage. In the midst of a tight work deadline and a very exciting opportunity, Georgie opts to skip the family trip to her husband’s home for Christmas, failing to realize the ripple effect of her decision on her family life and marriage.

I was expecting it to take more twists and turns, being a time travel story with the opportunity for ruining the past in pursuit of a better future. But I’m glad that it didn’t. The time travel is sweet, and is more about the longing we might feel for second chances than it is about clever sci-fi ideas. (Not to say that those clever time travel questions aren’t out there! I have a few questions about the story on that front; alas, they’ll never be answered. I’m sure that’s not even the point.)

I love time travel stories. They’ve always been interesting to me. I was so thrilled to read this book, and discover a more subtle, sweet, personal side to the time travel genre. Rainbow Rowell writes her characters cleverly – despite being a very different person in real life, I felt like I knew Georgie McCool from the inside – her internal dialogue and point of view brought me right into her head. I longed for her to resolve things with her husband and make everything okay again. When she couldn’t get through to him, I felt her anxiety.

This book was an easy read – well written, and engaging enough to hold my attention, even through a particularly scatterbrained week of my non-reading life. It’s a lovely story, and I’m happy to have it on my bookshelf.

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