Lincoln O’Neill is stuck, in more ways than one. He’s living at home with his mother, having recently finished another of his many degrees and not quite ready to strike out on his own. He’s haunted by memories of his one true love, Sam, the girl who broke his heart in college. He’s also feeling bound by his job. It was supposed to be “internet security” for the local newspaper – protecting the company’s computers from hackers, for example – but instead, he sits all day and reads his fellow coworkers emails, looking for phrases that ping the email filters and sending warnings to those who cross the line. There are two culprits in particular, Beth and Jennifer, whose emails Lincoln reads day in and day out… but he can’t bring himself to warn them off. Soon, he finds himself invested in their daily conversations and revealing confessionals, and before he knows it, it’s too late to say anything, because he’s falling in love with Beth.
I think Rainbow Rowell must be a fan of romantic comedies, because this book struck me as a movie waiting to happen. Perhaps the fact that Beth happens to be a film critic was her tongue-in-cheek way of acknowledging this, as she even mentions several times what would happen if her life were a movie. I’m a sucker for misunderstandings and awkward situations, myself – and what is more awkward than poor Lincoln’s? He can’t tell Beth how he feels, because if she finds out he’s been reading her emails, she’ll feel betrayed (even if it IS his actual job). But how can he pass up the chance to find love again – especially once he finds out that his crush might not be one-sided?
This is the third Rainbow Rowell book I’ve read in six weeks. That should tell you a two things. One, Rowell’s writing is easy to devour. It’s effortless (although the author may quibble with me on that) and rarely hits any lulls. Two, her books are interesting. I don’t finish books that bore me – there is just not enough time in the world for all the books I want to read, I’m sure not gonna waste my time on those I find dull! What I love most about her books are the characters. Each book has had a distinctive voice (or in the case of “Eleanor & Park,” two voices). Lincoln is worlds away from Cath or Wren or Eleanor or Park. He felt to me like a wounded soul, someone who just got stuck, basically – when his Sam left him, he stopped moving forward in his life, entering into a kind of stasis. “Attachments” is a romantic story, but it’s also a story of Lincoln moving on and growing up. This particular novel isn’t YA, but it’s just as relatable as the others.
I’ve already pre-ordered Rowell’s next novel, “Landline.” I look forward to reveling in it this summer. I don’t even know what the plot is – that’s how much I’ve loved reading these books! Rowell joins my list of authors like Octavia E. Butler and Lev Grossman – authors whom I would follow blindly, knowing that whatever they have to offer, I will undoubtedly enjoy it.