Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
First Published: April 14, 2011
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Epistolary fiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper 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.
When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he’d be sifting through other people’s inboxs like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. 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 but be 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.” After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can’t see exactly where it’s leading him.
Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it’s someone you’ve never met.
In a story like this one, there is a very fine line between finding the main character adorable and romantic or considering him to be a creeper stalker. I spent most of the time reading this book with one foot in both camps. Lincoln has a legitimate reason to be reading Jennifer and Beth’s email conversations but somewhere in between him starting to fall for the movie reviewer and psuedo-stalking her (I mean honestly? He decided to go to her boyfriend’s shows just to catch a glimpse at the lead guitarist in action and to sort of gage if he considered Chris to be worthy of Beth) there is such thing as too far.
The format of this novel is different than any I’d read in the past. Most chick-lit books I read don’t follow the male protagonist. But for 90% of this book, the only contact we have with Beth is through the emails she sends to and receives from Jen. The rest of the book is about Lincoln and his world. I felt for him. He’s been stuck in a rut for the past ten years ever since his high school sweetheart and he broke up. He’s working a job he hates and had to keep dodging his sister’s ranting about how he needs to better himself. At least he’s eating well since he’s living with his mother and she is making sure he’s eating her gourmet cooking.
Ignoring how uncomfortable I often was with Lincoln’s behaviour regarding Beth’s privacy, I enjoyed this book. Books written in letter/email forms are a favourite of mine. In some ways the interactions between Jen and Beth reminded me a lot of Meg Cabot’s book, The Boy Next Door. They were funny and serious, heartfelt and honest.
Despite this, I was incredibly unsatisfied by the ending. It was fitting but I couldn’t get over the feeling that it was just slightly too convenient. Too easy.
I thought it was an interesting choice to have the novel set just prior to the new millennium and have Y2K be featured. The pop-culture references from a time gone by were fantastic! Finally a book that mentions Fight Club and Quantum Leap!
I’d love to read another Rainbow Rowell book in the future. Her writing is fresh and funny and despite Lincoln’s stalkeristic tenancies, she presented the reader with loveable characters that were three dimensional.
3.5 out of 5
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