Landline Summary & Study Guide

Rowell, Rainbow
This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Landline.
This section contains 704 words
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Landline Summary & Study Guide Description

Landline Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Landline by Rowell, Rainbow .

The following version of this book was used to create this Study Guide: Rowell, Rainbow. Landline. Orion Books, 2014.

Georgie and Neal have been married for 15 years, and they have two daughters, Alice and Noomi. The pair live in Los Angeles, where Georgie is a television comedy writer and Neal is a stay-at-home dad. The pair met in college, where they both worked for the newspaper. However, Georgie has held onto her interest in comedy writing, while Neal never figured out what he wanted to do in life.

This discrepancy – and the fact that Neal held more parenting duties than Georgie – led to a disagreement right before Christmas, 2013. Though Georgie said she would go with Neal and her daughters to visit his mother in Omaha for Christmas, she backs out at the last minute. She has been granted an opportunity to pitch her long-time dream pilot, with her best friend Seth, to a studio executive. The only problem is that they have to finish it over Christmas.

Mad at Georgie again, Neal and the girls go to Omaha anyway. But right away, Georgie knows something is off with her husband. He does not return her calls, and when she does get through to him on his cell phone, she always speaks to one of her daughters, not Neal. Upset with what she perceives to be her failing marriage, Georgie cannot concentrate on writing her script. Seth is worried about Georgie, and is frustrated that she seems to be wasting a rare opportunity.

Too upset to go back to her house, Georgie starts staying with her mother, her younger sister Heather, and her stepfather Kendrick. One night, she dials Neal not on her cellphone, but on her mother’s landline, the same phone line she used to call him when they were courting 15 years before. At first, Neal’s father, who passed away years ago, answers the phone. Soon, Georgie realizes that she is calling Neal in 1998, 15 years before.

The timeline of her calls to the past is significant. Fifteen years before, Georgie thought Neal had broken up with her because he did not see himself fitting into her life. But after a week, he drove from Omaha to Los Angeles to propose to her at her mother’s house on Christmas morning. She realizes that the calls between them take place during this week, 15 years before.

Still, Georgie is not sure the function of the calls. She wonders if she is supposed to be repairing their problematic contemporary union, or if she is supposed to be ending their relationship. She wonders if Neal would be – and would have been – happier without her. She thinks about their early dating, and their wedding, but on one fateful call near Christmas, she tells 1998 Neal how difficult her life will be if he stays with her. Then she leaves the phone off the hook the whole night.

In the morning, Georgie is convinced that she has ruined her marriage. More than ruined it, in fact, but made sure that it never happened. But she is not willing to let Neal go. She decides that she needs to make a grand gesture to win back her husband’s affections – if she still has a husband, that is.

So, without packing anything, she heads for the airport to buy a ticket to Omaha. Outside, her friend Seth wonders if they made a mistake years ago – perhaps they should have been the couple. Georgie tells him that she is not interested; she is still in love with Neal. At the airport, she has difficulty buying a ticket for Omaha, but she eventually succeeds.

The plane trips to Omaha are difficult because there are snowstorms in Denver, the layover stop, and Omaha. Trapped in the airport, Georgie panics that her marriage is over – and that her daughters never existed. Eventually, though, she makes it to Omaha. A young couple drive her to Neal’s mother’s house in the heavy snow, as well as giving her weather-appropriate clothes and shoes. She goes inside the house, where she is greeted warmly by her daughters and Neal. She has not ruined her relationship after all, but instead has recommitted to it.

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