Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Posted May 14, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 6 Comments

Attachments

by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments

Original publication date: April 14, 2011
Length: 324 pages
Publisher: Dutton

Obtained Via: NetGalley Read Now
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“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 . . .?

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Ah, 1999. A time of scary new-internet technology for many, including a certain Omaha newspaper. In fact, the company is so overwhelmed with technology that they hire to Lincoln, the mid-twenties, doesn’t-really-know-what-he-wants-his-life-to-be man as an internet security officer. . . aka, the person who mostly gets to monitor everyone’s emails. Of course Lincoln, being the awkward, kind soul that he is, doesn’t exactly enjoy the way this job makes him feel like a creeper(especially since he didn’t know exactly what he would be doing before he took the job), but it’s good money and his life’s a little aimless, so he does the best he can.

Thus begins the story of Attachments, or in some ways, Lincoln and Beth’s love story. At the same time, Attachments is so much more than that. I am younger than Lincoln is, but I still feel like I can relate to so many of his issues. He feels both stuck, still living at home, and yet lost, not knowing what to do now, at the same time. Lincoln is so kind, but awkward, and finds social interactions difficult. It’s hard for him to fit into the newspaper at first because so few people work the same shift as him. Over time, he begins to warm up to some of the people around him and realize that they may have more interest in common than they first thought.

And all along, while Lincoln’s sort of meandering through this time period in his life, he’s still reading the emails that Jennifer and Beth are sending each other. He knows he should report them, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Their conversations are endearing and humorous, and while still a violation of company policy, surely more innocuous than some of the other violations.

It was fascinating to see the world through Lincoln’s eyes, but then learn SO MUCH about Beth and Jennifer through the emails just like Lincoln. It gave me, as a reader, that same sort of almost-creeping feel: like I was looking into these two character’s personal lives in some really tender moments. I felt so much for some of the things Beth and Jennifer went through, while completing giggling at some of their more humorous exchanges. I felt like I became friends with both of them and I totally get why Lincoln found himself drawn to Beth.

Even though I loved Lincoln from the beginning, I can’t deny that sometimes I wanted him to DO something. I often found myself taking his sister’s side whenever she was on the page–telling him to change his life, do anything, one small thing. So when Lincoln started taking initiative and doing things I felt like a proud friend cheering someone on. Sometimes I find character growth development doesn’t happen as well in adult fiction titles–because people sometimes become so stuck in their ways–by Lincoln’s character arc wasn’t like that at all. By the end, he’s still the same Lincoln he was at the beginning of the book, just with a little more growth and initiative.

Attachments perfected the line between cute exchanges and real character growth. It’s a pretty fun book overall, but there’s some major character development and some more serious parts that really brought it up to the next level for me. I’ve loved Rainbow Rowell’s books in the past and Attachments was no exceptions. I do have to say, though, that Attachments was her debut novel and I think it shows a little. Rowell’s books are such character-driven novels, and they’re all good, but the characters in Attachments didn’t feel as life-like to me as the characters in Rowell’s YA novels. Which is not to say that they’re not well-rounded–because they are–but just that they lack a little of the definition, so to speak, that I’ve come to expect. All in all, though, a minor issue among a sea of greatness.

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Attachments did not disappoint! I became sympathetic towards Lincoln from the beginning of the story and totally cheered when he started doing things in his life. I was totally rooting for him and Beth from the beginning! I totally loved these characters and the story. Overall, Attachments was a great read. 4/5 stars.

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4 Stars

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6 responses to “Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

  1. This was the Audible daily deal today so I bought it! I read it back when I saw it… GOSH where did I see it? On Goodreads I think? Like WAY before I started blogging and I went to BORDERS (I went a few times stalking it before they started the store-closing sales) and hunted it down. Somehow I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would – maybe my expectations were too high? But knowing Rainbow now I really NEED to re-read it so I’m excited to start it via audio and see if my opinion changes! 😀

    • Stormy

      BORDERS!
      I’ll be curious to see what you think of it via audio! I think Rowell’s books all read a bit differently with a lot of common threads. I think my expectations were kinda low actually when taking into consideration it was Rainbow Rowell–not that I expected it to be good, but only have her YA to go on I wasn’t sure how I would feel–so that made it an easier read for me.

    • Stormy

      I totally get that. Cath is shy and awkward too, but I think Lincoln might be the most “inactive” of Rowell’s characters in a way. He could be a very complacent character at times(without wanting to be!).

  2. It was pretty easy to relate to Lincoln. It’s nice how he felt like a normal awkward person and not like a caricature of what an awkward person acts like.

    • Stormy

      That’s a really good point! Lincoln seems like someone I could just bump into on the streets. Normal, a little awkward, shy, but well-meaning.

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