Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: Dutton Publishing

Genre: Young Adult, Romance Fiction

First Publication: 2011

Language: English

Major Characters: Lincoln, Beth, Jennifer, Chris

Setting Place: Nebraska.

Narration: combination of third-person writing about Lincoln, and direct transcriptions of Beth and Jennifer’s email exchanges.

 

Book Summary: Attachments by Rainbow RowellBook Review - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mails – and also, I think I love you’.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart, and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.

 

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This really solidified for me that Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers! She’s phenomenal! After reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, I wanted to read more from her so I find a list of books by her from Google and began chronologically from the list. So I picked up Attachment by Rainbow Rowell which was her first book. Now I’m going to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. For me, it comes to one key point: she builds real people. Her characters don’t feel like characters, they don’t feel fake or made up. They’re really people with unique quirks and imperfections and beauty and it’s so easy to be sucked into reading her books because I feel like I actually know these people!

“There are moments when you can’t believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening.”

The premise of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is pretty basic; Lincoln is a shy and socially awkward individual who never quite got over the heartbreak caused by his high school sweetheart. Having recently moved back to his hometown (and back into his overindulgent mother’s house), he gets an IT security job at the local paper. His job involves reading through flagged email and sending out warnings to anyone in the office who breaks company rules regarding internet use. When he starts getting flagged emails between Beth and Jennifer, he knows he should send them a warning and move on, but he can’t seem to bring himself to do it. Before he knows it, he’s read so many of their conversations that he feels like a total creep, but he still can’t bring himself to stop. It’s when he begins to fall for Beth, however, that Lincoln’s torture truly begins.

“I believe that worrying about a bad thing prepares you for it when it comes. If you worry, the bad thing doesn’t hit you as hard. You can roll with the punch if you see it coming.”

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is told from a third-person perspective with Lincoln at center stage, we only get to know Beth and Jennifer through their emails to each other. While this is often a difficult method for an author to use to truly portray a character (especially since people only project a certain amount of themselves to others, especially through emails), Rainbow Rowell managed to really make it work. I felt like I really got to know Beth and Jennifer through their emails, and for the first time in too long, I can actually understand why the male protagonist fell in love with the female.

Beth and Jennifer are genuinely good people, devoted friends, and beautifully flawed individuals. We see Jennifer’s fears about becoming a mother are caused by her rocky relationship with her own mother. We see Beth’s ignorance regarding the myriad ways love can manifest and exist; and we see Lincoln’s insecurities unfold as he attempts to struggle out from beneath his mother’s apron and live his own life. While the underlying theme is romance, the story also focuses on family, friends, and personal growth.

“It’s so easy for someone else to say, ‘Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be all right.’ Why not say it? It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t mean anything. No one will hold you to it if you’re wrong.”

I know this makes Attachments sound paralyzingly dull, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s really quite funny. It’s probably the funniest book I’ve read in the last few years. I understand it’s probably not for everyone. The pop culture quotes and nerdly references to things like Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings might put some readers off, but they were right up my alley.

“Things get better — hurt less — over time. If you let them.”

This book, particularly, was cute and lovely. I thought the mails back and forth were hilarious and adorable and I thought that Lincoln’s maturing was really well done. The reason I haven’t given it 5 stars is because I really wanted Lincoln and Beth to meet earlier. I don’t feel that I got enough cute time between the two of them! There were also a few periods in Attachments by Rainbow Rowell where I would have liked things to move along bit more quickly!

Rainbow Rowell has a gift for writing beautiful and unconventional love stories. Her characters always feel vibrant, energetic, quirky, and rich in emotion. I also like that “Attachments” takes place in the late ’90s. I love all the pop culture references, and the casual but hilarious banter of Jennifer and Beth’s daily emails. Rowell’s writing and sense of humor is simple and refreshing but never feels flat or monotone.


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