Main Characters: Lincoln, Beth, Jennifer
Synopsis: Lincoln is your average 20-something. He’s got a few college degrees, and he’s got a boring night job. He works for the local newspaper, and he’s in charge of the IT department. Mostly, the job just requires him to check the email filter to see who’s naughty and who’s nice. Usually, there’s nothing to see. But one day, a set of correspondences from Jennifer and Beth shows up in the web. They’re not really being naughty; they just used a few of the search’s flagged terms. But what they write is interesting, and it keeps showing up in the web, and Lincoln can’t stop reading.
- <<Jennifer to Beth>> What if he decides to cut his losses and find some perfectly normal woman who– on top of being naturally thin and never having turned to prescription antidepressants– also wants to have his babies ASAP?
- <<Jennifer to Beth>> Aren’t you missing the point? Clark Kent doesn’t want to be famous. He doesn’t want people to look at him. If they really look at him, they’d see that he’s just Superman with glasses. Plus, he needs to be someplace like a newsroom, where he’s the first to hear big news. He can’t afford to read “Joker attacks moon” the next day in the newspaper.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> You make an excellent point. Especially for someone who doesn’t know that Superman never fights the Joker.
- <<Beth to Jennifer>> Just assume that my response to your next 12 statements is, “Say what?”
- <<Jennifer to Beth>> I thought to myself, “My marriage is the most important thing in my life. I would rather have a happy marriage than anything– a good job, a nice house, opposable thumbs, the right to vote, anything. If not wanting a baby is destroying my marriage, I’ll have a baby. I’ll have 10 babies. I’ll do whatever I have to do.”
- The next morning, Christine made him oatmeal and tried to tell him to hold onto the momentum in his life, to try to channel it into a healthier direction. “Remember,” she said, “not all those who wander are lost.”
- <<Beth to Jennifer>> I can’t believe you met him. I’ve been following him around for months without making more than passing eye contact, and you actually met him. And you didn’t just meet. You had a meet-cute. Is it warped for me to be jealous of you right now?
- “I want someone whose heart is big enough to hold me.”
“You want someone whose love will fit around your finger.”
“You should write that down,” I said. “It sounds like a song lyric.”
- “Yesterday,” he said, “you were all mine. Every freckle. And today, we’re talking about who gets the VCR.”
- “I didn’t know someone could love me like this,” she said. “Could love me and love me and love me without… needing space.”
Lincoln wasn’t asleep. He rolled on top of her.
“There’s no air in space,” he said.
Review: The brilliance of Rainbow Rowell strikes again! I went on a bit of a binge, if you hadn’t noticed– I read all three of her books in three days. (Now I just have to patiently twiddle my thumbs and wait for the next one.)
This one was no letdown! (Not that I’d expected it to be, but three great books? What are the chances?) The hero of our story is Lincoln, and we are introduced to the other two main characters by way of Lincoln surreptitiously reading their emails. (It IS his job.) That’s how the story plays out: Lincoln lives his life, and reads emails. (They’re very well-written emails, of course. Very detailed, with separate paragraphs and dialogue! It’s a good thing these two characters are journalists, otherwise their emails would probably be like, “Today sucks. Mitch said he wants a bb. Idk what to do.”)
Lincoln is a great character, in a sort of angsty way. He’s floating along (in the late 90s) the way most of us 20-somethings are doing today. We have degrees, and jobs, but they’re not really related or what we want to be doing the rest of our lives and we’re just sort of biding our time waiting for something great to come along. Lincoln’s never recovered from a breakup his freshman year of college; he thought he and Sam were going to be together forever. (She didn’t feel the same.) Lincoln spends his time between his mom’s house, the gym, and work, waiting for life to get on with it.
Something I didn’t like about this story is that you got to see very, very little of the couple’s actual time together. You get enough to know that there’s instant chemistry and that they plan to be together a while, but that’s it. The whole novel is just personality-building for both of their characters. Do they stay together forever? What do they fight about, if they fight at all? Do they just lie around every day and have sex? I realize that no book can truly give you the whole story, and that you should be able to figure out the rest on your own, but to spend so much time rooting for these two characters to be together and then have them barely together is a bit… frustrating.
Rowell’s stories are always very realistic and true to life. She doesn’t bother with heavy scenic descriptions, relying on her characters and their interactions to carry the story forward. I greatly enjoyed reading her books (like I said, three in three days) and I’m eagerly awaiting the next.