By Rainbow Rowell
Paperback, 357 pages
2012, Orion Books
It’s 1999 and Lincoln has started a new job at a newspaper who has finally given their staff computers complete with the internet and email. Lincoln’s job is to monitor flagged emails and issue warnings to associates who are breaking the rules (ie: no vulgar jokes, no personal conversations, business only!), but he gets sucked into the life of two women, Beth and Jennifer, as they send almost daily emails full of their thoughts and feelings. Rather than issue them warnings, Lincoln becomes wrapped up in their correspondence and feels as though he’s a part of their lives.
First off, this is part of my genre switch-up challenge. I asked my friend Chelsea for a romance and this is what she suggested. I decided to read it in February because who doesn’t love romance in February!? Granted, the premise of the book seems a little creepy and my blurb probably didn’t help, but Chelsea assured me this would be a cute, contemporary (wait, is 1999 still contemporary?) read and she wasn’t wrong!
I was intrigued by the plot right away – how could I like a character who reads other people’s emails, even if it’s part of his job? Yet Lincoln is almost instantly sweet and charming and it’s clear he hates what he does, despite enjoying reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails. It was also strangely nostalgic to think about a time when computers and the internet were new to a workplace, as I still remember when my family first bought a computer and my limited access to the internet (oh how it’s changed!) I also remember the Y2K scare, which is touched upon in this book, and how everyone went crazy thinking our computers would crash as their internal calendars reverted back in time.
These three characters sent me on a rather unexpected emotional rollercoaster. I was more invested than I imagined I could be and up until the last few pages, I couldn’t see how the book could resolve in a way I’d find satisfying. Certainly not the experience I expected from a contemporary romance.
I’ve owned Elinor and Park for quite some time, primarily because I scored a lovely edition at a book sale for $0.50 and had no real plan to read it. The majority of Rainbow’s work doesn’t sound appealing to me, but I’m glad I gave her a chance. I’m not sure when I’ll get to E&P, but I certainly won’t ignore it on purpose now.
If you’re looking for something quick and cute, and a little nostalgic if you remember a time before computers were friggen’ everywhere, then I highly recommend this.
You can visit Rainbow’s website here.