It’s 1999 and Lincoln hasn’t had a girlfriend in a decade, still lives with his mother, and has just taken a job at a newspaper where his main task is to read the emails of his co-workers that are caught in the network filter and flagged as inappropriate. Though he is supposed to reprimand those who are using work email for personal correspondence, he doesn’t ever notify Beth, the movie reviewer, or her best friend, Jennifer the copyeditor of their violations. Because he likes them. They seem smart, cool, and fun, and he likes reading their emails. In fact, he develops a crush on Beth, even though she’s got a sexy and mysterious lead-guitarist boyfriend. Then he realizes that he is THE CUTE GUY Beth and Jennifer are always mentioning in their emails. But how do you tell a girl you fell in love with her before first sight? And even though Beth thinks he’s cute, will she still like him when he realizes he spends most Saturday nights playing D&D?
Attachments is an adorable romance. I eagerly checked it out after reading Rowell’s forthcoming YA novel Eleanor & Park which I absolutely adored and couldn’t help but fangirl about even though it was months before the release. Attachments is a lighter read that I enjoyed almost as much.
Rowell inverts a traditional rom-com by telling it from the guy’s perspective. We only get glimpses into Beth and Jennifer’s lives through their email exchanges, and the other chapters follow Lincoln as he stumbles through life, not sure where he belongs.
Beth and Jennifer’s friendship was honest and fresh. They were supportive but firm with one another, and even talked about things besides the men in their lives! I think a lot of women will relate to their conversations. Since I’m at that just-before-thirty stage, a lot of their insecurities and dilemmas were familiar. (In fact, Jennifer, like me, is happily married to a HS teacher who wants kids, and just like me, isn’t sure she wants them. I kinda loved Jennifer and was glad she had such a great friend).
The ending tied up the romance rather neatly, and like all those movies, ends just as the characters get together. Will Lincoln and Beth live happily ever after? I hope so. This isn’t the type of adult fiction I normally read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The same story in the hands of a less insightful author would have, quite honesty, fallen flat. But Rowell has a way of crafting characters who you feel like you know and inviting cynics to revel in optimism, if only for a couple of hours. Readers who want something light and fun but don’t relate to most chick-lit should check this out. It’s clear that Rowell gets nerds (yay!) and portrays real characters, not the magazine spread types that seem so prevalent in these types of stories.