Landline- Rainbow Rowell

Georgie and her husband, Neal, have hit a point in their marriage where things are tense.  Always tense.  They love each other, but work and life and two kids have taken their toll.  Georgie announces days before they are supposed to leave to visit family in Omaha that she needs to stay home for Christmas to work.  Neal leaves as planned with the kids, leaving Georgie behind.  He stops picking up her calls.  At her wit’s end, Georgie stumbles upon a way to connect with Neal, but Neal from the past.  Her magic phone calls 20 years in the past to the first year of their relationship.  Reconnecting with past Neal reminds Georgie of how they fell in love in the first place, before everything made its way in between them.  Perhaps this will give her a second chance to fix things before it is too late.

What I love about Rainbow Rowell’s books is that they somehow always feel like they were written just for me.  I don’t really have a life like any of her characters, but there is something about their lives and relationships that resonates with me.  While I’m not sure I could really understand Georgie’s workaholism (no one will ever accuse me of being a workaholic), I did understand the tension in her marriage.  I think anyone who has had a long term partner knows that there are times when you are closer to one another and times when you feel quite distant from one another.  Those distant times are tough and scary and leave you feeling quite vulnerable.  Georgie and Neal have hit one of those rough patches.  I sort of wish we could all get a magic phone for those times, a chance to remember what made the good times good and to remember when love was new and exciting.  The magic phone was an interesting narrative convention, too, as it allowed Rowell to tell a falling in love story at the same time she told a being in love and falling back in love story.

My biggest complaint with this book was the ending left something to be desired.  Georgie decides it is her turn to make the big romantic gesture in the relationship.  So she does and all is forgiven without so much as a conversation between Georgie and Neal.  While sometimes it just takes a small thing to put a relationship back on track, I did not believe Georgie and Neal could be fixed as easily as they were.  I would have liked to see an airing of grievances and rededication to one another, but that didn’t really happen.

All in all, this was another enjoyable Rainbow Rowell book and I will continue to read everything she publishes.  I love her writing and her characters and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.  This is probably her weakest book so far (this or Fangirl), but it was definitely worth the read.  There aren’t too many books I can think of about being in love, so this was a welcome addition to the chick lit/romance (I guess that is what it is) genres.

Attachments- Rainbow Rowell

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Set in 1999 in Omaha, Nebraska, Attachments is the story of Lincoln, a 28-year-old man who moves back in with his mother after finishing years of worthless (but fun!) degrees and takes a job at a newspaper as an internet security officer.  His job entails the monitoring of company email, reading the emails of his coworkers to ensure they are not using it for personal reasons and sending memos to those who break the rules.  Lincoln stumbles across a series of personal emails between two coworkers, Beth and Jennifer, but he can’t bring himself to send the two a memo.  First off, they aren’t really breaking any serious rules and secondly, he finds them intriguing and funny, like friends he’s never met.  Soon, he realizes he’s got it bad for Beth, even though he’s never even seen her… but how do you ask out someone whose personal emails you’ve been reading?

Attachments is such a fun read.  It is a love story, but also a growing up and finding yourself story.  Lincoln is such an awesome character.  He’s a geek who loves being a student (something I can relate to) and plays Dungeons & Dragons every Saturday.  He’s incredibly decent and kind-hearted, too.  He befriends an older widow at his office, helps his friends move without complaining, is a devoted son, brother, and uncle, and knows that if he wants to begin a relationship with Beth he needs to be completely honest with her about the whole reading-her-emails thing.  He starts off shy and shut-off from the world around him, happy to depend on his mother for shelter and meals and social interaction.  By the end of the book, though, Lincoln has grown up quite a bit and comes into his own.  It is quite refreshing to see a 28-year-old character that hasn’t got it all figured out yet (something I also can relate to), but who slowly makes his way towards creating his own happiness.

In addition to a loveable main character, this book illustrates a great female friendship in the emails between Beth and Jennifer.  You never really meet either character, but you can see how they support one another and joke with one another and are just plain old good friends to one another.  They’re hilarious and make me miss my old work friends with whom I would exchange instant messages all day.  It’s really lovely to see a healthy and realistic friendship between two women characters!

Then there are some retro-fun times in this book… namely Y2K.  Which will always make me think of New Year’s Eve 1999 and how I was standing out on my friend’s back deck watching fireworks and thinking “I’ll always remember this night because the world didn’t end.  I survived Y2K and will tell my kids all about this significant historical moment.”  And you know, I was 14 at the time, so I felt like hot stuff to be out on my friend’s deck, drinking sparkling cider, staying up past midnight, and surviving Y2K.

The thing about this book is that I think it will appeal to some of you who mostly read YA or who aren’t really into your typical romance novel.  There’s a character growing up.  It is a sweet story about falling in love, but that’s not all it is and there are no sexytimes included.  And it is all very fun and pleasant reading.  I urge those of you who like a story about love and friendship and growing up and who have a weakness for nerdy boys to check this one out.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

Thanks for the recommendations/reviews:
Brandyn recommended this one to me as a change of pace from all the YA I was reading.  Thanks, Brandyn, I really needed a change of pace last week and this far exceeded my expectations!

Dixie @ Gone Pecan alerted me to the fact that Lincoln was a D&D player, which is (sadly) something that clued me into knowing that I would like the guy!

Additional goodies:
So I was surfing the web and decided to google Rainbow Rowell and see what she is up to these days and lo and behold, she’s posted some deleted scenes from Attachments on her blog!  So yes, get to these goodies when you have finished the book!  Also, Rainbow Rowell has written another book which is already out in the UK, but won’t be in the US until 2013.  Adding it to my TBR list…