Narrator: Laura Hamilton
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 14th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Length: 9 hrs. 7 mins.
Also by this author: Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Landline
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, coworkers at The Courier, know the newspaper monitors their office e-mail. But they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers, and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill still can’t believe that it’s his job to monitor other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be an Internet security officer, he pictured himself protecting the newspaper from dangerous hackers - not sending out memos every time somebody in Accounting forwarded an off-color joke to the person in the next cubicle. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help being entertained - and captivated - by their stories. But by the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you?”
With snapping dialogue and irresistible charm, Rainbow Rowell transforms an ordinary IT guy into a lovable and endearing romantic hero and proves that falling in love never happens the way you plan it. Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a fresh and energetic debut that marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction.
In Attachments, Lincoln is a lonely IT security guy at a newspaper whose job it is to make sure no one is misusing company email. He feels bad about reading his co-workers email and sending them warnings, and he can’t bring himself to report Beth and Jennifer, two repeat offenders on the flagged email list. He enjoys reading their email too much, and is soon too caught up in their lives to walk away. He especially takes to Beth and develops a little crush, only to read in Beth’s emails to Jennifer that the feeling is mutual.
This is such a cute story, and I just love the premise. You just know working in an office that IT is monitoring the email and web surfing and I like the idea that this guy really hates to do it. (True story: one time at work while I was going about my day and working on an excel spreadsheet I got a call from an IT manager who was watching what I was working on remotely during his Internet use monitoring. He even called me to suggest some excel shortcuts. He was totally forthcoming that it was his job to monitor us but I remember being taken aback at the “spying”) I don’t think Lincoln would do that!
Lincoln is a nice guy in his late twenties who lives with his mom. He has a plan to move forward with his life but has been dragging his heels. He had a bad breakup and is gun-shy about starting another romance. Even though it’s 1999 he is kind of stuck in the ‘80s and wants a Morrissey haircut and plays Dungeons & Dragons. The whole book actually has a retro feel to it. It’s fun seeing Lincoln come into his own throughout the book.
Another thing that’s interesting is that it takes place in 1999 when the Y2K uncertainty was going on and everyone was freaking out that the computers would stop working in 2000. I remember that on New Year’s Eve CNN was covering the New Year in every country and by the time New Year arrived in California, the whole Y2K thing was a non-event. So, in addition to the email monitoring, Lincoln has the Y2K scare to worry about.
We get to know Beth and Jennifer very well through their email exchanges. Jennifer is married and thinking about starting a family, while Beth has a musician boyfriend and is at the stage where she’s thinking about marriage. I got as caught up in their lives as Lincoln did and the way the three stories intertwine is very well done. It’s so cute seeing Lincoln’s reactions to reading Beth thinks he’s cute. It’s a little stalkery, yes, but Lincoln is pretty harmless.
I listened to the Attachments audiobook, read by Laura Hamilton. Because so much of the book is about the email exchanges, I think it would probably work better in print. It was a little tiresome after awhile hearing the “From Beth to Jennifer” for every email. Hamilton captures the right tone for the story with her narration, and carries off the wittiness of the book well. The character differences are subtle and at first I had a difficult time differentiating between Beth and Jennifer, but after awhile it clicked with me. Overall I just think that due to the nature of the book I would recommend picking up a print copy.
Attachments is sweet and enjoyable like a classic rom-com. And actually, since Beth is a movie critic at the newspaper, there are frequent movie references. It’s smart and romantic and puts a smile on your face. Can’t wait to read more from Rainbow Rowell – she has two books coming out in 2013!