Release Date: April 14th 2011
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Age Group: Adult
Buy the book: Amazon – Book Depository
Description (from Goodreads):"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 had been eyeing this book since I saw it next to Eleanor and Park at Waterstone’s last summer. I left the store with Eleanor and Park, which I had indented to buy, but I kept thinking about this book. I finally got it, almost year later, as a birthday present from my roommate and had to start reading it right away. And oh my, this was so good.
It’s late 1999. Lincoln works in the IT department of a newspaper, spending his nights monitoring emails of the newspaper staff. His job is dull and repetitive, and he constantly feels bad about snooping into the exchanges between his co-workers. Then he comes across the exchanges between Jennifer and Beth, who clearly know that their emails are monitored, but who do not take it too seriously. Their messages are constantly flagged, and Lincoln knows he should sent a warning to them both, but the more and more he reads, he just can’t stop and realizes he will never sent that warning. And he also realizes that he has started to form warm feelings towards one of the women in particular.
Both Beth and Jennifer are in relationships, but either of them has a flawless union with their partners. Jennifer’s husband wants kids, whereas Jennifer is not quite sure of what she wants – she cannot see herself as a mother, but at the same time panics about what will happen if she never gets pregnant. Beth has been dating Chris, a guitarist, for several years, but Chris is not ready to commit. Beth has watched her sisters and friends getting married, deep down knowing that she herself might not get that, at least not with Chris. The exchanges between these two women are so funny, so realistic and just filled with so much familiarity, love and caring for each other. Though we only get to know these women via the emails and via Lincoln’s thoughts and actions with them, you really start to feel, very early on, like you know these women, like they are your friends.
Lincoln is living with his mother – after acquiring several college degrees, he has moved back home in order to figure out what to do next. His mother is over-caring and somewhat over-protective and Lincoln is continually reminded by his sister Eve that in order to go on with his life, he will need to leave home and find his own place. Lincoln’s heart has been broken several years before, and he feels like there is nothing he can take hold of. Then he starts to fall for Beth, a woman he has never seen.
I just loved Lincoln. He seems really sweet and sensitive, as well as kind of nerdy and shy, which are like my favorite things a guy could be. But he is also extremely witty and funny and smart and just so so so dreamy.
“ You came here to meet somebody, right? To meet a guy?…”To maybe meet the guy, right?… Well, when do you think about that guy – who, by the way, we both know isn’t me – when you think about meeting him, do you think about meeting him in a place like this? In a place this ugly? This loud? Do you want him to smell like Jagermeister and cigarettes? Do you want your first dance to be to a song about strippers?” (pg. 60)He is described as “handsome”, “cute” and “big” (not as in fat, more like in buff) and for some reason I just get this image of like a buff Adam Brody in my head. Like seriously, so hot. I started to root for him and Beth right away, because you know, they’re just meant to be! And once I realized that Beth actually works as a film critic, I got so excited because that is pretty much what I want to do when I “grow up” – the film and pop culture references in the book were a great addition and added well to the characterisation.
The late 1999, early 2000 setting is brilliant, because it’s kind of the dawn of the Internet and all this new technology. Everything is still so new and these characters are not quite sure how they are supposed to react to all these new rules and regulations. They use the technology somewhat recklessly, discussing very personal matters via work email, which probably does not happen anymore because we all know that nothing is really private in the World Wide Web.
One of the things I liked about this novel the most is the fact that it’s just incredibly funny. There are so many laugh out loud moments there, especially while reading the exchanged between Jennifer and Beth. I just want to quote a couple of them here, just to give you an idea of how brilliant these two characters actually are:
<<Beth to Jennifer>> I don’t care if they are reading out mail. Bring it on, Tron! I dare you. Try to take away my freedom of expression. I’m a journalist. A free-speech warrior. I serve in the Army of the First Amendment. I didn’t take this job for the bad money and the regressive health care coverage. I’m here for the truth, the sunshine, the casting open of closed doors. (pg. 17)To summarize, I don’t think there was anything in this book I did not like. Rowell’s characterisation is brilliant, and like with both Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, with this one too you feel like you know these characters, like they are your friends, and you honestly start to care about them. The writing is so beautiful and perfectly paced, and the development of the story is top notch. I could not recommend this book more highly – seriously, pick it up! You won’t regret it. I promise you.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> If you were Superman and you could choose any alter ego you wanted, why the hell would you choose to spend your Clark Kent hours – which already suck because you have to wear glasses and you can’t fly – at a newspaper? Why not pose as a wealthy playboy like Batman? Or the leader of a small but important nation like Black Panther? (pg. 99)