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. What would he say to her? 'Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mails - and also, I think I love you'.
I was reading a book that I really wasn't keen on when I found myself with a Friday evening home alone. I wanted to read, definitely, but the thought of spending a night in with a book I was struggling through wasn't a happy one. So instead I started browsing Waterstones' eBooks to buy something that I could reward myself with when I'd finished the current read. I'd seen an overflow of love for Attachments at What Red Read and Reading Rambo and had been meaning to buy it ever since so it was an easy choice.
I meant to just have a quick peak at the first few pages. How foolish! The next thing I knew, it was midnight and I had giggled my way through the first half and cared more about Beth and Jennifer than I do about some of my actual friends. If you're my friend and you're reading this: don't worry, I'm probably not referring to you...*ahem*...
Honestly, though, I loved it. Beth and Jennifer's banter-y affection is just pure fun to read:
"Beth to Jennifer: If you were Superman and you could choose any alter ego you wanted why the hell would you choose to spend your Clark Kent hours - which already suck because you have to wear glasses and you can't fly - at a newspaper?
Jennifer to Beth: Aren't you missing the point? Clark Kent doesn't want to be famous. He doesn't want people to look at him. If they really look at him, they'd see he's just Superman with glasses. Plus, he needs to be someplace like a newsroom, where he's the first to hear big news. He can't afford to read "Joker attacks moon" the next day in the newspaper.
Beth to Jennifer: You make an excellent point. Especially for someone who doesn't know that Superman never fights the Joker"
[Page 85 in my eBook edition]
See?! They're FUNNY! And underneath all the joking and teasing, there are two friends who support each other through crap relationships, heartbreak and the daily rigmarole of working at a newspaper. Like all the best romantic comedies, there are those moments where your heart hurts and you shed a tear that you would never admit to later.
There should also be something supremely creepy about Lincoln reading Beth and Jennifer's emails. And yet...there isn't. The thought of the IT chap at my office reading over some of my email chains with work friends makes me feel pretty icky but I still couldn't help but love Lincoln and desperately want for everything to work out well for him. I think it's because he seems so lost and lonely and broken that being mad at him would be like kicking a puppy (i.e. bad). Watching him trying to find something to be proud of and find himself a life beyond his mother's kitchen made me want to reach into the pages, give him a hug and tell him it will all be ok. He is, without a doubt, the most endearing email stalker EVER.
Ok, so it isn't the flashiest of plots and there's an outside chance that you'll see the ending coming but spending time with Rowell's adorable characters for a few hundred pages is more than enough fun for one novel.
In the interest of balance, I've tried to think of a downside. So far, all I've come up with is that for a short time after I'd finished reading this, I was disappointed that neither I nor my friends are as off-handedly witty as the wonderful characters in this book. Also, I can imagine cynics getting all bent out of shape about the ending. But then I suppose if you were that much of a cynic, you probably wouldn't have picked up a romantic comedy in the first place...
Overall: Extra love went to Attachments for reminding me how much fun reading can be. If you're feeling blue, in need of a chuckle or just like a little romance, I honestly can't think of a better book to read.