Ahh Attachments. This is almost infamous now, for its creepy-in-a-not-creepy-way premise and lovely, witty e-mails. So naturally I only got round to reading it when everybody else has moved on to Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. Ah well, such is life. Anyway, Attachments is a wonderful book that I read pretty much in one sitting as I just couldn’t bear to put it down.
Plot summary: 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’. 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.
In case you didn’t bother to read the above (I’m a big girl, I can handle your rejection), Lincoln’s job is to read employees’ e-mail. He keeps noticing certain amusing conversations between Beth and Jennifer and eventually falls in love with a woman he knows only through her e-mail. It’s almost epistolary as it’s told primarily through the women’s inboxes, although it does switch over in Lincoln in standard narrative form.
This is the kind of book you just want to hug. It’s really fun and light-hearted, just… happy-making, if that’s a word. You close the book and feel like all is well with the world. For me, I think I liked the book so much because it felt real. This is a situation that could actually happen, and that’s rare in chick-lit. There’s no beautiful, quirky women setting up a cupcake shop that is successful over-night, no fairy godmother and no stereotypically gay best friend. It could happen and that’s awesome.
Obviously the premise probably should seem a little bit creepy, but it doesn’t at all. I think it works because Beth is a tiny bit creepy herself – she does basically follow him around in a completely stalkerish way. Saying that, who hasn’t positioned themselves in a certain spot just before a particular gentleman walks by, or done something else vaguely creepy for love? Neither of their behaviour is beyond the realms of possibility. Either that, or I’m the only one and I’ve just outed myself as a crazy loser.
Lincoln doesn’t sit there wanking over their e-mails; the focus is actually more on his life and he even goes so far as to acknowledge that stalking them would be inappropriate and weird. So shame on you Beth!
The ending is a little rushed and twee; it’s the only part that feels like a chick-lit novel. It didn’t annoy me on a grand scale as I was too high on happy fumes from the rest of the book, but it could have been better. I just couldn’t put this down. I wanted to be reading it every single second that I could – it’s a rare gem that can be this funny, but also this unique and this easy to relate to.