More often than not, the book is already on hold for someone else, so it may be weeks or months between the time I put the book on hold and when I eventually have it in my hot little hands. It's always a surprise what book is waiting for me when I finally get to the library. So when I began this book, I had no clue what is was about, but I had a vague recollection it had something to do with e-mails. I certainly wasn't prepared for a quirky novel that would leave me feeling so good.
Lincoln is in his late twenties, lonely and living with his mom, who cooks elaborate gourmet meals for him. He works the night shift at the local newspaper in the IT department as an Internet Security Officer. When he was hired for the position, he thought he would be protecting The Courier from evil hackers. Instead he finds himself in charge of reading employee's e-mails to ensure workers are adhering to company protocol.
He basically hates his job. He thinks it's weird he gets paid to pry into other people's personal communications. But the money is good and really, what else does he have to do other than play Dungeons and Dragons every Saturday night? He hasn't had a relationship since high school and to make matters worse, his sister will not leave him alone about moving out of his mother's house and getting on with his life.
He follows the lives of two co-workers, Beth and Jennifer, through their work correspondance because their e-mails get flagged in the IT security system quite often. He gets so immersed in their lives (through their e-mails) that he begins to feel like he knows them. Their exchange is smart, funny and quippy. (I laughed aloud so many times while reading their e-mails.)
Then they start to talk about Lincoln. Beth noticed him at the office and starts to refer to him as Mr. Cute Guy. At the same time, Beth discusses her relationship woes with a musician she has been dating since college who can't seem to fully commit and Jennifer talks in great detail about her fears of starting a family. When Jennifer becomes pregnant, their dialogue takes a more serious turn (but still with light and humorous undertones.) And through all of this, Lincoln is forced to follow them through their e-mails. And he's starting to hate himself for it.
Rowell was able to create characters that are so believable, so down-to-earth, that if you ever worked in an office, you'll find yourself drawing comparisons between them and people you actually know. In fact, she created such a depth to each character (even to the minor ones like Lincoln's mom and sister) that I found myself invested in every single of them.
Lincoln, the hero of the story, is smart, funny and just plain nice. He's a breath of fresh air, quite frankly.
Beth, who finds herself stuck in a relationship that she knows is not right, yet doesn't know how or if she should disentangle herself from it, is that self-depreciating humor kind of girl who always makes you laugh low and loud.
Jennifer is a lovable character whose fears of starting a family are familiar and her relationship with her husband is warm and endearing.
This is a fun, quirky, Shakespearean comedy of errors type story that leaves a smile plastered to your face. It's a wonderful first novel from Rainbow Rowell. I cannot wait for her next novel!
Verdict: Definitely Recommend