Attachments

I took a short break from the silly British chick lit to read a second book from Rainbow Rowell, Attachments. Good decision on my part.

Set in party-like-it’s 1999, Attachments is the tale of one lonesome 28-year-old IT guy, Lincoln, who’s in charge of reading a Nebraska newspaper’s email. Meaning, he reads every single employee’s email if it’s “flagged” for certain inappropriate words or topics. This requires Lincoln to work nights only and rarely if ever interact with any newspaper employees, and he’s already pretty antisocial because he lives at home with his mother and has only ever socialized with one person, his high school sweetheart Sam, who thoroughly ripped his heart to shreds in college. His entire existence is pretty pathetic. Until…

One particular email exchange catches Lincoln’s attention, and not because of anything they’re doing wrong. Beth, a movie reviewer, and Jennifer, a copy editor, are work besties who email each other all day every day about nothing at all related to work. Their exchanges mostly cover Jennifer’s husband Mitch pressuring her to have kids, Beth’s boyfriend Chris never wanting to get married, Beth’s younger sister Kiley getting married before her, Jennifer disliking Beth’s boyfriend for this very reason, etc., and Lincoln quickly falls in love with Beth solely from these emails. (To be honest, she doesn’t come across as that great in the emails, but Lincoln’s pure enthrallment with her is adorable enough for both of them.) Soon Beth starts writing about a cute guy (whom she creatively calls “My Cute Guy) that she’s seen around the office, which turns out to be Lincoln, and an internal back and forth starts in Lincoln’s mind: Should he approach her or not? Should he pretend to know nothing or confess everything? At first it seems like they’ll never actually meet. Until…

JK, not ruining that part. It’s a little heartbreaking to see the world from Lincoln’s perspective and understand why he is the way he is, but it’s heartwarming to see him change his life for the better — going to the gym, talking to other humans, eating better, moving out of his mom’s house to his own apartment — exclusive of his interest in Beth. The other adorable thing about this book is that it takes place in 1999, so the entire newspaper staff is freaking out about Y2K and there’s, you know, still a successful newspaper. (It’s in Nebraska, but still.) Sometimes I wish I’d experienced adult or even college relationships back then instead of now, before Facebook and Instagram and group text messages ruined everything and email was still new. Imagine that?

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