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Reaction to... Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Like Rainbow’s books themselves, the covers for them are not all gazed at with fondness and appreciation, but I love them to pieces. They’re cute and simple, charming and quirky. And they make you wonder what the book is about. There is always some element about them that makes me want to own them just for the sake of looking at them; they make me happy. Just like her books do from the inside.

SUMMARY: 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 inboxes 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.

Even if you weren’t yet born or were fairly young (as I was) at the time, I’m sure you know about the craziness that exploded during the turn of the millennium and Y2K (the ORIGINAL apocalypse, people!), and that’s when this book takes place. It’s 1999 and Lincoln O’Neill (don’t you just love it when book summaries give you the last name? So many books have stopped doing that and then you forget it…) has jumped off the college scene… again. With two Masters under his belt, a welcome spot in his mother’s home, a lackluster social life, and absolutely no direction for his life in mind, Lincoln doesn’t think it’ll hurt any to be the night watch “internet security officer.” Don’t be fooled though, because if you’re thinking, as Lincoln did, that that means fast-paced virus terminations and building firewalls and anything else that sounds remotely cool for an IT guy to take on, IT’S NOT. Instead his position leaves him with barely anything to do and his job description should’ve really said “glorified e-Peeping Tom.”

Monitoring the use of company email doesn’t seem like much of a biggie. At first. Reading through red-flagged emails seems justifiable. Initially. Until he gets very hilarious personal emails from two women who work at The Courier, Beth and Jennifer, who, though they suspect there’s a Tron-like monitor perusing their emails, fear the mysterious officer very little, assuming that people who get warnings for internet misuse are also the ones who watch porn on break. Lincoln is technically supposed to report them. But he doesn’t. And he keeps reading, even against his better judgment. And then he does something really stupid: he falls in love with Beth.

Now I’m sure there are MANY many books interspersed with naturally witty and charming modern epistolary. But I’VE never read one, and I’m so happy that Rainbow gave me my first shot at it. ATTACHMENTS is told in two manners, one from Lincoln’s third person perspective and the other through the emails that Beth and Jennifer send to each other. Theirs isn’t an impersonal, intangible section of the book chronicling the lives of two mere women. IT’S THE OPPOSITE. It’s candy for the soul, it’s relatable, funny, and blunt. It’s like if two of your favorite women were best friends and wrote emails to each other only you were privy to. Hell, I kept thinking that if Steph and Kat had a part in a book, this would sorta be them (minus the typos :P).

And after reading those incredible emails, riddled with pop culture references of the time, anecdotes that range from hilariously embarrassing to heartbreaking, peppered with wit and fun, I worried that Lincoln’s parts wouldn’t live up. But they do. Not only because of who he is, but because of his journey as a person. ATTACHEMENTS is about how a person can retreat so far into his shell he forgets what it is to experience the outside world, and then that person steps out—gets woken up—and realizes it’s not so bad out there after all; there’s much more to live for. Pages and pages of dungeons and dragons, a mother’s cooking, crappy boyfriends, and baby dramalamas later, I feel like I learned something.

And loved something. Possibly, most probably all of it.

This is always my favorite part of talking about my feelings on a book. And sometimes it’s also the hardest, much like this time. Because how does one go about describing Lincoln, Beth, Jennifer, and the remaining parade of people who go through this book?

ATTACHMENTS plays up the fact that the world really is a small place, that there are tons of people who intersect with you on your intergalactic journey through your own personal universe. There are no small characters in this book—sure there are those show up less frequently than others, but they all have something to say, some part in Lincoln’s life or in the shaping of his new one. From Dave and Christine and the rest of his D&D crew, to his sister, Eve, and his nephews, his mother, to his party animal friend Justin. His ancient dinner partner, Doris, his first love, Sam. The people who revolve around Beth and Jennifer’s world, Mitch and Chris. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE. And what’s more, you don’t have to keep track of them because they’re just there; they’re fixtures or presences you can look forward to in each of the main character’s lives. Like knowing your neighbor or the guy who slices your sandwich meat at the super market.

They just are.

  1. Lincoln
  2. Lincoln’s Past
  3. Beth
  4. Beth’s Being Sarcastic
  5. Jennifer
  6. Jennifer The Cynic
  8. The Mishaps, Misunderstandings, and General Cyber Shenanigans
  9. THE Kiss
Some might argue that nothing happens in this book; I’ve seen it said before. But evolution is a slow and subtle process, and one of the most beautiful when it’s of the soul and the very life you lead. Nothing about this book is ordinary even as it brings forward ordinary life, because Rainbow’s gift makes it not only relatable, but almost magical. ATTACHMENTS is about growth, moving on, courage, finding yourself even when you think you’re late in the game. It’s about love and starting over. It’s about life, and it reminds you of how imperfectly simple and perfectly beautiful it really is.

(I read this because of Asheley from Into the Hall of Books, and I THANK YOU, MY FRIEND.)

Paperback / 323 pgs / April 14th 2011 / Dutton Adult / Goodreads / $13.50

I bought a copy like new off of Abe Books.


Princess Ash said...

I'm so glad you took the chance on this book because I just love it so much. I can't believe how much I love it. It touched my heart, you know. Sometimes, I can't give words to exactly why, but that Lincoln - with everything he did and said and thought - he just got to me. I loved the emails and how great those two women were, but it was Lincoln that grabbed my heart and just wouldn't let go. Fantastic book, my favorite of hers so far. Rainbow Rowell is so-very-much instant-read for me. She gets it, Ash. She really does. Thank you for taking the time to read this one. I'm so happy right now. So very happy.

Princess Ash said...

I read this book a little while ago and I thought it was adorable. I loved the emails added in to the story really giving readers more of a background to Jennifer and Beth, and their friendship. I definitely loved Lincoln too and how he just didn't know what to do with his life. This book definitely made me want to read more of her books, and Rainbow Rowell will now be an auto-buy for me.

Princess Ash said...

I have been thinking about picking up Attachments. But your review sold me. I wish I had it right now!

Princess Ash said...

Ack I just LOVEDDD this one!! So charming.

Princess Ash said...

um, okay, WOW. I've yet to read a Rainbow Rowell book and it upsets me so much because EVERYONE raves about this one, Eleanor and Park, and now Fangirl! Lincoln sounds like such a fantastic character! I'd also be worried that the emails would steal the show, but I'm glad that's not the case.

Everyone talks about how funny this book is, and I LOVE funny in my books, so yeah. I need to pick this one up. ASAP. Like, yesterday.

Fantastic review, AS ALWAYS, Asher! :)

Princess Ash said...

The way you looked at me when you were talking about it at BEA sparked an interest right off, because before I was just going to hold off until I felt like it but then I thought about your reaction and as I'm considering buying it I noticed a review posted for it with yet another loving reaction so that sealed the deal. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL, and real, raw, and, yes, touching on so many levels. I can't decide who I enjoyed more amongst the three of them but all I know is Rowell has created my future husband. BETH BETTER WATCH HER BACK. Rainbow is officially an auto-buy author now for me as well, and it's BECAUSE she DOES get it.

Let's have a happy dance to commemorate ALL OF THE HAPPY.

Princess Ash said...

It was definitely impossible to remain unfazed by the two of them. Even though we didn't "meet" them until much later, we knew them, we HAD met them, just in a more unconventional way. Lincoln's struggles were so relatable and made him ask so many questions of himself that EVERYONE has to ask themselves at some point in their lives. I could feel that pressure and despair and understand because I"m dealing with it now with college and not knowing what direction to take. It's a timeless place to be. FTW RAINBOW, because you just win everything.

Princess Ash said...

BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT. LIKE ASASP!!! (Excuse the typos :D)

Princess Ash said...

*fist-bumps* SO TRUE. And so worth everybody's love.

Princess Ash said...

She deserves all the praise, I swear. Not all of us are mindless fangirls. Her words mean something and so do her characters and their growth AND JUST READ THEM. This whole book is hilarious and fun and excruciating and ALL THE THINGS YOU COULD WANT.

Thanks, darling <3 Really dug your review on Just One Day ;D

Princess Ash said...

I adored this book so much. I wasn't sure if it could live up to my love for E&P but not only did it, I think it might have surpassed it (maybe? I don't know-they're both so good!)

Princess Ash said...

Honestly, when I say anything about this book, I can pretty much safely say that I loved this one more than E&P as much as I did love that one. What also probably factors into that is the fact that this had an outright happy ending that I could be satisfied with.