Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

15 September 2021


by Rainbow Rowell 

Published on March 27th, 2012 by Plume Books

Genres: Romance, Contemporary


"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you..."

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now—reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers—not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained—and captivated—by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

I've never read anything like Attachments; set in 1999 right before the new millennium, we follow Lincoln, a night-shift IT guy, who has been tasked with flagging employees who use their emails to send personal messages. He comes across several exchanges between a Beth and a Jennifer and then immediately gets hooked on their online interactions about their lives. And next thing he knows, he's already catching feelings for Beth — a girl he hasn't even met — and now he's terrified she's going to think of him as a creep if he comes clean.

A lot of people didn't appreciate the characters in this book, I've read some reviews where they've been labeled as "pathetically weak", but personally, I think Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job in giving us realistically flawed characters: Lincoln is a bit of a loner; he works nights and reads people's emails like a creep (he hates it!), is still quite hungover from how his previous relationship crashed and burned. Beth still hangs on to an unhappy relationship in the guise of not wanting to give up on the love of her life, and Jennifer doesn't know whether she wants a baby with her husband. I actually appreciated the character development in this novel, particularly with Lincoln but I also wish we were able to explore more of Beth's side instead of just reading about her life in select emails.

The one thing that was slightly lacking in this book was the romance: Lincoln and Beth barely had any interaction but I guess Rowell managed to somewhat successfully execute the "I knew I loved you before I met you" kismet type of romance to make me feel a bit giddy. This isn't the type of romance I'm used to — I want (no, crave) explosive tension and chemistry between the hero and the heroine — but alas, this wasn't that kind of book.

Overall, the plotline for Attachments is uniquely entertaining. It was also fun to read about several 90s references like the Y2k scare. If you like kismet type of romances like Beth O'Leary's The Flatshare and haven't read this, then now's a good time to pick it up! 

(Review originally posted on Instagram)