Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Guest Post from Rainbow Rowell, author of Attachments

You may remember 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 man-pig.

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.”


  1. I can't wait to read more about Lincoln! Great guest post!

  2. I love this post so much I want to marry it. I downloaded a sample of this book on my Kindle. Now I want the whole thing.

  3. LOVED this book and love your characterization of Lincoln. Alea was the one who got me reading this book and I'm so glad!

  4. Anonymous2:03 PM

    I've been recommending Attachments to everyone I know since I read it a month or two ago.

    Absolutely hands down the fun read of 2011, especially for us 40 somethings that worked in IT departments in 1999. (it was a very special year LOL)

    Having met Matthew McConaughey in person in NYC bar around 2001-01 I can tell you that at least then, his characters weren't that far off real life and it made me sort of sad for him. Maybe he grew up after the wife and kids came along but I could NEVER see him as Lincoln.

    It' a role custom made for John Krasinski though. Lincoln totally made me think of Jim from The Office.

  5. I'm so glad you guys are as excited about the books as I am! Melizzard, I love John Krasinski!

  6. Alea, thank you so much for letting me guest on your blog! And for all of your kindness and excitement. (I still can't get my head around having written someone's favorite book. It's almost like a Spider-Man situation. Like, "With great readers comes great responsibility.")

    And thanks, everyone, for talking about my book.

    AGREED. John Krasinski is dreamy. And tall! Which is the one physical characteristic that would be important for an actor playing Lincoln.

    I can never think of good actresses for Beth ...

  7. Very smartly written post! It made me smile, think and of course want to read this book to know more abt Lincoln! :)

    Komz@The Review Girl

  8. I was going to say, "Now I'm trying to think of a good actor for Lincoln," and then I saw someone suggested John Krasinski. :-) I think he'd be good because he is tall and dreamy and sufficiently good-guyish...but I dunno, he doesn't seem quite right to me.

    For Beth I immediately thought of Minnie Driver in "Return to Me." I think I was kind of picturing someone like her as I was reading the book.

  9. Rainbow--or anyone--what's your take on Jake Gyllenhall in "Love and Other Drugs"? For me, he fell into your definition of a pig, yet that's what his character was all about. He was happy to be that guy. I have to say, incredibly gorgeous women can be the equivalent, but Anne Hathaway in that film was believable as someone knowing her fate and not wanting to get involved that I felt for her. Parts of the film were corny when they didn't have to be, but the basic exploration of what makes someone a charming misogynist and then he can break away interested me. Hathaway sold the film for me.

    I also can't think of another American film that explored sex in more than an explotative way. They actually seemed to like it and each other.

    Anyway, thanks for your guest blog--very interesting.


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