With this novel, I did enjoy the chapter changes, from Lincoln's point-of-view to email threads between Jennifer and Beth. I loved the Lincoln character, a big, brawny, nerd with a heart of gold. There were several of Rowell's patented heart churning conversations, about life, love, family and independence. But, for some reason, I felt like I was trudging through. That it was taking too long and I wanted to move on to a better book. Sorry Rainbow, I feel like this is sacrilege!
Maybe it was the Jennifer and Beth characters. I found them kind of annoying, I could not figure out why Lincoln liked them, and honestly found they were unnecessary to the entire story. Sure, they cracked jokes, but not my kind of humour. At some points I rolled my eyes and thought 'snap out of it.' They both came off as selfish and needy. I mean Beth literally tries to make her sister's wedding all about her, and continuously degrades her sister and her sorority friends. Where Lincoln loves her for her words and personality, she first likes him because of his looks...ugh.
Thank goodness for Lincoln. Sure, he was a creeper, but he knew he was and genuinely felt bad about his role at the paper. He hated his job, did not like being able to look into people's personal lives via their email. His moments with his mother though, they really made the book better for me. It could have been a book about a man learning to become independent from an overprotective and overbearing parent. His and his mother's growth throughout is tender and heart warming, her eventual acceptance of his moving out is the highlight of the book. Looking back, maybe I am wrong, maybe this whole book is about a relationship between a man and his mother; and in that case, I wish there had been less Beth and more of this dynamic.
This passage...this passage between Lincoln and his mother hits home:
'"It's so strange...,"she said. He couldn't tell from her voice whether she was sad or angry. "I can remember a time when you needed me for everything.
"You were just this little kitten, and you cried if I set you down even for a second. I don't know how I managed to ever take a shower or make dinner. I don't think I did. I was afraid to hold you too close to the stove."
Lincoln stared down at the eggs. He hated when she talked like this. It was like accidentally seeing her in her nightgown.
"Why do you think I can remember that," she asked, "why you can't? Why does nature do that to us? How does that serve evolution? Those were the most important years of my life, and you can't even remember them. You can't understand why it's so hard for me to hand you off to someone else. You want me to act casual."'
So, for me, the book was meh. Because there was not enough of the moments I loved, and too much of the moments that I had to push through. Although, some of the quotes from Lincoln sure did raise the book a point:
'"I pictured you," he said. "I just didn't know what you looked like.
"And then, when I did know what you looked like, you looked like the girl who was all of those things. You looked like the girl I loved."' - Lincoln to Beth