We’ve all seen It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street a hundred times. We all know that Christmas is a time for family, love, and sometimes even magic. Landline, like our favorite Christmas classics, is a story where it takes a miracle to knit a broken family back together over the holidays.
Georgie McCool—yes, that is her real name—is a comedy writer in LA. It has always been her dream to write for TV with her best friend, Seth. Georgie has a great career, two adorable daughters, and a husband, Neal, who she adores even after their fourteen years of marriage. The only issue: Georgie’s career is taking over her family life. It is Christmas, and instead of heading to Neal’s hometown of Omaha with her family, Georgie stays in LA by herself to write the pilot of a new career-changing TV show. It is only after her family leaves for the airport that Georgie realizes how upset Neal is by her decision. Again, she is putting her career over her family. Is this the last straw? When her husband returns from Nebraska, will their marriage still be intact?
As Georgie starts to doubt the status of her relationship, she calls Neal’s phone incessantly, but never receives an answer. Deciding to stay at her mom’s house so that she will not be alone, Georgie is forced to plug in the old yellow landline from her childhood bedroom since there is no IPhone charger in the house. When she calls her in-law’s house phone, Neal picks up. But this is not her Neal. It is Neal from 1998. Neal over Christmas break during their senior year of college after a big fight. Neal who ended up driving 24 hours back to California on Christmas Eve to propose to Georgie all those long years ago. At first, Georgie cannot believe that this magic landline is a portal back to her early 20’s. Then she realizes: is this an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts? Or is this a chance for her to stop a marriage that should have never happened in the first place?
Rainbow Rowell does an excellent job of bringing moments of magic, comedy, and heart to this Wonderful Life spin-off. Her pop culture references will make any 80’s youth smile and make us all consider taking the big leaps for our loved ones over the holidays.
Recommended by Katelyn McLimans