The year is 1999. Lincoln’s job is to read the newspaper employee’s emails. Well, at least the ones that are flagged up by WebFence. He’s meant to send them warnings, but there’s something about Beth and Jennifer’s exchanges. With nothing better to do on the night shift, he feels like he’s getting to know them through their words. He knows he should stop, but he likes her…
I loved the emails between Jennifer and Beth; they were lovely and natural. Lots of laughter and random going off on tangents. If the whole book had been liked that, it might not have worked, even if it is entertaining, but their conversations are split up by a more normal third person narrative from the point of view of Lincoln. It might seem far-fetched to employ someone to read employee emails, but I’ve worked at a few places where I could imagine it. I had a good laugh about the Y2K stuff; remember the panic everyone had back then?
Lincoln’s story is a little slow in places. I got a bit bored of his history with Sam. I knew they weren’t together anymore and I don’t think I cared about the how. I much preferred his time spent chatting with Doris in the break room, his Dungeons and Dragons group and his awkwardness at knowing too much about Beth. The scene in the carpark is just wonderful.
His mother had a special disdain for margarine. Finding out that a family kept margarine in the butter dish was like finding out their pets weren’t house-trained.
There’s just enough cynicism to stop it being saccharine and completely unbelievable. There is some caricature going on and I’m not quite sure I got Chris. His explanation to how he was just seemed woolly and I wanted Beth to smack him. I mean, she was a wonderful, understanding girlfriend and he just had an odd, and fairly selfish, attitude, that he liked to think of as love.
Lincoln could have been creepy. But he is such a nice guy and his decisions come out on the right side by the end. I think we’ve all had a work crush at one point in our lives, and I thought Beth’s side was spot on. You know, you give them a name, you make excuses to be places where they are but then, actually, don’t do anything about it. But it’s fun to have one.
The ending really resonated with me. I had a few sniffles, at a couple of points, but it was overall much more an uplifting story than Eleanor & Park turned out to be (I did some Twitter research before picking this one up, just to be on the safe side).
Shelve next to: e by Matt Beaumont
Book Source: Purchased