"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
I'm not entirely sure what I can say about this book without gushing. I knew I needed to read a Rainbow Rowell book and I'm glad I started with this one because it was just fantastic!
So, Lincoln has the weirdest job: reading other people's emails to make sure they're not being rude or slacking off at work. When he comes across the exchanges between best friends Beth and Jennifer, he cannot bring himself to turn them in. For whatever reason, he looks forward to finding their emails in the flagged file, even as he realises that what he is doing is wrong on so many levels. I loved how awkward Lincoln was. Not just at work with the whole snooping thing, but also at home with his mum and older sister. And I especially loved that we saw this side of him, his home life and his past, not just his new work persona. Speaking of his home life, it made mine not seem so bad! He was in his mid-twenties and only just stopped going to school. His sister thinks this is because he had a thing for lecture halls, but I understood that it was that he felt comfortable and didn't want to leave academia. Heck, I know exactly how that feels!
As for Beth and Jennifer, God they cracked me up! It's like they were trying to get caught on purpose at first, which made it incredibly hilarious. Then when they didn't, the personal confessions started and we were privy to some pretty private and touching things. No wonder Lincoln felt horrible for reading their emails! I loved how much we learned about them from just their emails, it was incredible how Lincoln had no idea what they looked like but just knew them.
The development with Lincoln's work and Beth and Jennifer's lives was fascinating, and I especially loved how the story flowed considering it was spilt between prose and email. Even with the moral implications, I could completely understand why Lincoln looked forward to hearing from Beth and Jennifer. They were funny and sweet and cared for each other, and with Lincoln so lost in his life, I knew why he needed the distraction. But when he recognised that he was falling for Beth, and they kept almost bumping into each other, it was like a rom-com movie but still felt so real. I commend Rowell on writing such a odd but realistic novel and I highly recommend reading it!
Published February 2012 by Orion. Thank you to the library for stocking this so I could read some of Rainbow Rowell's amazing writing!