Attachments – Rainbow Rowell

“It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange. At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first sight.”
 
Attachments was an impulse buy, prompted by a long journey, that I fell in love with at the first page. It’s split into a dual narrative – the email conversations between two reporters on a newspaper, discussing life, love, college memories and other deeper matters, and the life of Lincoln. He’s a recently hired employee who works the night shift, checking on any emails flagged up by the security system that contain inappropriate keywords. The girls’ conversation are filled with both those and witty dialogue, and Lincoln is quickly drawn to the women – in particular, Beth. 
 
He longs to meet her, especially when he reads that a) she has a crush on him and b) her long-term relationship has recently come to an end, but their opposing work hours and his shyness makes it impossible. Not only that, but although Beth and Jennifer know their emails systems are being monitored – not that they believe anyone is reading their messages – he can hardly admit that he’s been practically snooping on her private conversations and feelings for months. Will they finally meet and get it together? I don’t want to ruin the ending for all you KCARAB readers – this novel is such a delight that you really must read it yourself – but it’s a wonderful, if slightly brief, denouement to the build-up Rainbow Rowell carefully constructs over the pages of this lovely novel.
 
Not only is it the tale of a wonderful love story set in the pre-millennium era we so keenly know (and slightly miss), but it’s a bildungsroman of sorts, spanning Lincoln’s growth of independence, from living at home to moving into his own place.

Rainbow creates three extremely likeable characters – I found myself rooting for Lincoln and wanting to be friends with Beth and Jennifer – in this warm, quirky tale. It’s unusual to read a novel like this told predominantly from a male point of view, but it was a refreshing and genuine concept. I am truly attached to this novel (please forgive the bad pun)!

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