"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
I won't say anything new if I expound upon Rowell's easy, conversational writing style or her vivid and relatable characters, because all that is present here. Although I was at first put off by the Los Angeles setting, her LA characters turned out to be just as down-to-earth as her Nebraska ones. And after being impressed by how insightful her YA books are, it was a treat to join her as she delved into topics that are closer to the things that are on my mind now -- having a family, the meaning of marriage, the challenges of forging a lifelong union.
Rowell perfectly set up the struggles in Georgie and Neal's marriage so that no one came across as "the bad guy," and yet it was still understandable how resentment could build. It was nice to see two main characters in non-traditional roles (Georgie is the breadwinner, Neal stays home) without them being reduced to stereotypes of the power wife/stay-at-home-dad. I could feel her fear at losing him, and found the whole reflection upon marriage to be insightful and beautiful -- and sometimes painful.
With all that said, I agree with other reviewers that this book is longer than it needs to be. I wanted MORE about Georgie and Neal's present life and fewer college flashbacks; I was especially disappointed that <spoiler> we never really figured out why present-day Neal wasn't answering his cell phone</spoiler>. Sometimes I felt like the book just went on and on ... like, did we really need to know what she had for lunch at work? Also, anyone who reads any time-travel/sci fi, etc. will see the "twist" of the meaning of the magical phone almost as soon as said phone is introduced. In fact, my husband nailed it when I was just describing the book to him -- he didn't even have to read it.
Luckily, this isn't one of those books where everything rides on the "twist," and it does a lot of other things pretty much right -- it just does a little too much of them.
I read that Rowell wrote [book:Fangirl|16068905] for NaNoWriMo, but Fangirl felt so much more deliberate than this. This feels like a NaNo novel, or one that was pushed through to publication about six months too soon. It's good, but not as good as it could be.