Oh, Rainbow. I want to hug all of your books, and then I want to hug all of your characters, and then I want hug all of you. I just feel very huggy every time I read your stuff. And now I feel like I have to save up Landline for later times because that’s the only one I haven’t read yet and after that there won’t be any more and if I read it as fast as I read this one I’ll be done tomorrow and that’s not OK. So I’ll wait a bit longer. I need to know there is still something Rainbow-y out there that I haven’t read.
Attachments is another Rowell-y romantic story, except this is a romantic comedy. And it’s her first book, which I would have never guessed. Set in 1999, when the Internet was still new and there was no Facebook or Youtube or Tumblr and god knows what people were doing online back then. Nevertheless, they still managed to waste time on it. Come to think of it, wasting time is a big theme in this story. There’s Beth and Jennifer, two journalists who email back and forth at work and talk about their life and sometimes even about work, but they never seem to actually, you know, work. And then there’s Lincoln, who is the guy who’s supposed to check all the filtered emails workers send to each other and then report them if they’re using them inappropriately. This was before Gmail, although I’m pretty sure Hotmail already existed then so why weren’t they using that. Anyway, Beth and Jennifer aren’t using Hotmail, they’re using the company email service which can be controlled and flagged. Their emails get flagged constantly, but they’re so funny and smart and likeable in their messages that Lincoln can’t bring himself to report them. Mainly because that would mean stop reading their messages and he doesn’t want to do that. Beth’s and Jennifer’s emails are the only form of entertainment that Lincoln has at work. He works late shifts and doesn’t have much to do, so he’s always hard pressed to find something to fill his day and not make him feel like he’s wasting his time and his life. Which he still does, inevitably. And then slowly but surely, he starts falling in love with Beth, even before meeting her.
“There’s something really romantic about that. Every woman wants a man who’ll fall in love with her soul as well as her body. But what if you meet her, and you don’t think she’s attractive?”
“I don’t think I care what she looks like,” Lincoln said. Not that he hadn’t thought about it. Not that it wasn’t exciting in a weird way, not to now, to imagine.
“Oh, that is romantic,” Christine said.
Now, these premises could be extremely creepy. And I’m sure some people might still think they are. But it’s all down to Lincoln and his adorableness. I wish I was straight so I could have a proper crush on a fictional character and cry because he’s not real. He is perfect. OK, he’s not because he keeps reading those emails even though he should have stopped as soon as he decided he would never give them a warning. And I did cringe every time those messages appeared on paper because it meant he hadn’t stopped reading them LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE. But still. He’s Lincoln and he’s precious. He never really got over his first love which he thought was gonna last forever; he plays Dungeons & Dragons on Saturday nights; he prefers reading books then going out in loud bars with crappy music and smelly people to try and meet girls. But most importantly, he’s nice. Incredibly, genuinely, painfully nice. Not boring nice. Just REALLY nice.And apparently also really cute. Now, remember how wasting time was one of the big themes? Well, that also relates to Lincoln’s approach to life, and, more specifically, to how he keeps putting off meeting Beth, even when he’s completely sure he’s completely in love with her. It might have something to do with the fact that Beth has a boyfriend, but still, boyfriend’s a douche. It was one of them cases of seeing the pages getting dangerously near to the end and realising with increasing anxiety that there was no time for EVERYTHING THAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN.
But even without all the things that I needed to happen that weren’t happening , I loved everything that leads up to them. Lincoln’s relationship with Doris.Christine and all his D&D friends, but mostly Christine.His mother.HIS MOTHER. I fucking loved his mother, I think I had a tiny bit of a crush on her, actually. She sounds really cool, what with her doing massages at festivals and knowing all about how plastic is bad for you because it leaches into the food and how she’s divorced and then had a child from some guy that we don’t know anything about. It’s all very intriguing. Also, she’s funny and she cooks delicious meals for Lincoln and she really cares for him. OK, she might have some trouble letting him go and live his life, but nobody’s perfect.
And I loved all the song references (which I sometimes played on my phone on youtube as soundtrack when they were mentioned), and all the movie references and now I really want to watch The Goodbye Girl and ruin any other romantic comedy I might watch after that.
And of course I enjoyed reading Beth’s and Jennifer’s emails, which were witty and smart and funny and sometimes insightful, but not as much as I loved reading about Lincoln.