ON THE SAME PAGE: LANDLINE
Rainbow Rowell: Relationship Expert
For the month of June, On the Same Page read Landline by Rainbow Rowell and it really just struck me that with each book of hers that I read, I just totally and completely lose myself in the relationships that she creates. It’s no exaggeration to say that Rainbow Rowell is easily one of the best contemporary writers out there in my eyes for her creation of characters and the relationships she creates amongst them.
I’m actually in the middle of re-reading Attachments via audio at the moment because having read all of Rainbow Rowell’s works and seeing how her writing has developed over time, I had to go back to the first book I ever read of hers and revisit it. I had read it when I was still in my early 20s and I was in a completely different mindset back then. I didn’t read books then the same way I do now (still relaxed and for enjoyment although a bit more analytically now that I’m actively reviewing books) and I wasn’t at the proper stage in my life to really appreciate the characters, their relationships, and their daily lives. It’s so interesting to go back to her first book and see where she started from after just having finished her most recent book and seeing how much her writing has grown.
I’m pretty sure Rainbow Rowell has written some of my favorite character interactions and relationships that include a perfect blend of friendship and romance. They ebb between showing a character’s vulnerability and building up their strengths. The characters play off of one another to discover things about themselves and really help each other grown exponentially as well. I think one thing that’s very important to me as a reader is seeing the base of a relationship — the heart and the core of everything that exists between two characters, and Rainbow includes this in every story and the way that she sews it seamlessly into the book is just amazing. She’s an author that doesn’t have to outright say something to make it known. It’s the subtle ways that characters might look at each other or touch each other or react to each other. Each little nuance builds their back story and shapes their relationship almost without the reader even realizing and I think that’s one of the most important things in character development that I didn’t even know what I missing. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t say that end up meaning the most.
Each relationship in her books also has a very strong friendship. The characters may not have started out as friends before they got involved romantically, but the basis of friendship is there. Trust. Loyalty. Patience. Faith. The willingness to do anything for someone at the risk of your own happiness. The willingness to fight for a relationship before its even put in jeopardy. And every story isn’t afraid to show the truth: that any relationship — friendship or romantic or meant to be — gets messy.
Landline was an especially interesting addition to the Rainbow Rowell collection. (Can we call it that? I think Rainbow Rowell fans need box sets. Just saying.) This was the first book of hers where we see one of those beautiful relationships that she creates already in progress and not just the beginning… and what started as a beautiful beginning (which we actually get to see through flashbacks) may have slowly started to unravel at the seams and we start the book as main character Georgie is desperately trying to stitch things back together, hopefully before it’s too late. I loved seeing a different side of relationships from Rainbow. As much as I love falling in love with her characters as they fall in love with each other, it was interesting to witness a relationship in progress and how a marriage needs as much tender loving care as a blossoming relationship. I don’t read adult books as much anymore — on occasion because I’m just not a fan of reading about relationships that end in divorce or separation (hence why I read a lot of YA with first loves) — so it was definitely something different for me to pick up Landline and really appreciate that aspect of the book. It has both the characters and the readers take a step back and assess their relationships to really see what they could do to make it better.
Landline showed me that no matter what kind of relationship Rainbow Rowell writes, she’ll nail it every time. Her characters and the way they interact with each other are always one of my most favorite things about her books and I love how different those relationships are in each book. It’s refreshing to still feel that same style of writing that’s so recognizable as Rainbow but still have a completely unique story and unique characters to get to know. Whether it’s Attachments or Eleanor & Park or Fangirl or Landline, readers of any age or any genre can find characters to identify with and learn from. Each book brings something different to the table, all the while containing the same universal messages and feelings. Whether Landline ends up being your favorite Rainbow Rowell book to date or not, I think it’s easy to see that the relationships she creates are only growing in style and strength.
Can’t get enough Rainbow? Check out these other posts featuring the author and her works!
- Book Review: Eleanor & Park
- Book Review: Fangirl
- Selective Collective Feature: Eleanor & Park (Playlist)
- Selective Collective Feature: Fangirl (Cath’s TBR List)