my review of Attachments from several weeks back where I proclaimed the book was my favorite book of all time. Well I am giddy with excitement that Rainbow was kind enough to write a guest post for me to share with you!
When I started writing my first novel, Attachments, there was one thing I knew for certain:
I didn’t want to write a character who could be played by Matthew McConaughey.
Not that I dislike Matthew McConaughey. (He seems really nice, doesn’t he? Even with the bongo playing?)
But Matthew McConaughey represents a certain type of romantic-comedy hero that I’ve come to loathe.
The bad boy. The louchebag. The guy who has to be tamed or fixed – or by-true-love cured.
When it’s not Matthew McConaughey in this role, it’s Gerard Butler. Or Josh Duhamel. Or occasionally even my precious Hugh Jackman.
It’s always somebody who looks good with his shirt off because that’s what this character has instead of redeeming qualities – a really spectacular chest. It’s supposed to be disarming, I think.
But it’s not.
For me, there’s nothing romantic – or even darkly irresistible – about a roguishly handsome guy who treats women like Kleenex. When one of these characters comes on screen, I always want Katherine Heigl to run the other way as fast as she can. (It’s always Katherine Heigl, isn’t it? Someone in Hollywood loves watching Katherine Heigl fall in love with lower primates.)
This stereotype – the guys who hates women until he finds the right one – isn’t just gross; it’s kind of a dangerous lie.
In real life, guys are either sexist, misogynist creeps or good guys who usually try to do the right thing. I’ve never met a creep who was just one Kate Hudson encounter away from being a great catch.
It’s insulting to men, I think, to imply that they need Kate Hudson to turn them. That they have to be tricked into wanting love at all.
And it’s insulting to love to imply that this is the point.
Falling in love isn’t about turning a bad person good. It’s about finding someone who’s already good – the specific kind of good that brings out the best in you.
Which brings me to Lincoln.
Lincoln is the main character of my novel, Attachments. He’s an IT guy who gets hired by a newspaper to make sure that nobody is abusing the company’s internet and email. (The book takes place in 1999.) Lincoln has to read everybody’s mail, and in doing so, he falls in love with a woman who works in the newsroom – a film critic who has strong feelings about romantic comedies.
I don’t want to tell you everything about Lincoln because I’m kind of hoping you’ll read my book. But I will tell you that he’s unapologetically good from the get-go.
He loves his mother, he looks up to his sister. He’s the kind of guy who opens doors for you because he opens doors for everyone, because it’s just a polite thing to do.
But being nice doesn’t make Lincoln boring.
It makes his whole journey more meaningful. Trying to do the right thing is so much harder and more exciting than being a jerk.
Of course … I hope that people who read the book also feel this way.
The last thing I want to read in reviews is, “Needs more McConaughey.”