Rainbow Rowell is a very talented writer. Her characters are richly imagined and convincing, and Eleanor and Park was one of the most compelling books I've read this year.
So, she had some pretty big expectations to try to meet.
I liked Landline. I enjoyed Landline. I didn't fall in love with Landline, though. I think that this is in part because I felt like Georgie was just missing something.
In a lot of ways, I should have identified with her. I'm a working mom, with a (mostly) stay-at-home husband. My husband quit his relatively crappy job 11 years ago, when our now-14 year old son was 3. The boy was diagnosed with autism, and we knew that our life needed some major changes. I'm a prosecutor, and I made a lot more money than he did. Plus, I love my work. Mr. Moonlight Reader, on the other hand, worked as an insurance adjuster.
There is no crappier employer than an insurance company.
So, it was obvious which of the two of us was going to give up full-time employment. And that is how it has been ever since.
So, I felt like I should identify with Georgie, because we are both passionate about our work. My job is important and intense and engrossing. But, here's the thing. I just didn't really like her very much. I felt like she was incredibly self-absorbed. My job can be crazy, when I am in the middle of a murder trial. But there are always times that my family comes first. Always. And I didn't get the sense from Landline that there were ever times that Georgie's family comes first. And, I have to just throw it out there - she writes comedy. It isn't like she's the most accomplished neo-natal heart transplant surgeon in the country - the only one with the steady hands to save the lives of babies.
Sure, making people laugh is important. But it isn't more important than your family. Not every day. Some days, OK. Not every day. Not even most days.
Maybe I'm expecting too much, maybe the book is just too much what it is like to work in television in Hollywood. Maybe they all really are more or less disconnected from their kids. If that is the case, that is too bad, and that industry needs to get its shit together.
So, the words were awesome, and I loved them. And I will buy and read everything that Rainbow Rowell writes because some will hit and some will miss, but they will always entertain. But I did not like Georgie McCool.