Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review copy) - WARNING! Some may consider this review to contain minor spoilers (though I don't really think so).
It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious detail, from love troubles to family dramas. Abnd Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange,
At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight. From the blurb.
I loved Eleanor and Park so, so much, I knew, even before I finished it, that I would read every book written by Rainbow Rowell from that point on. Attachments, Rowell's first book, was next, and although it's adult romance and not something I normally read, I just had to. And... wow. Simply amazing! I would normally give a summary of what a book is about, but the blurb does a pretty good job, so I'll just jump right into it. Attachments is such a fantastic book! It's funny and heart-warming, and just a beautiful, beautiful read.
Attachments is set in a newspaper office in 1999, Beth is a movie critic and Lincoln works in IT.. As well as reading emails for rule-breaking, Lincoln is also helping out preparing everything in case the Millennium Bug causes all computers to die. I studied Journalism at uni, my Dad works in IT and had to deal deal with the Y2K stuff himself. So I got this book. Despite everything being explained, I knew what a headache Y2K IT work was, and I know what a copy-editor, for example, is. Simply because I knew what I was reading about made this book so much more credible to me. However, no-one should be put off by the idea of journalistic terms or talk of computer work - none of it is all that heavy, and through the story, you find out what everything means. And none of it is the real focus of the story. The focus is Lincoln, Beth and Jennifer.
Attachments follows the life of Lincoln, a shy, socially awkward 28-year-old who hasn't had a girlfriend since he was dumped by his high school girlfriend at 19. He's never really got over the heartbreak, and dealt with it by continually going back to college, for another degree, another masters. Working in IT at The Courier is his first job out of school, and has moved back home to his mother's - as he was always living in dorms before. His older sister Eve is constantly on at him to move out and get himself a proper life; living at home with your mum, sleeping all day and working all night is not a life. In some ways, he agrees. Lincoln doesn't really know too many people any more, and is a little bored with his life. Reading the emails between Jennifer and Beth are a distraction from spending hours behind a desk with no real work to do, and only his thoughts.
We do not follow Jennifer and Beth. We read their emails along with Lincoln. Almost each alternate chapter is an email exchange between the two women. They'll be talking about their colleagues, or their work, generally making each other giggle, or they'll talk about more personal things; Jennifer's fears about pregnancy, Beth's relationship troubles, and feeling like she's behind everyone else her age. The two women are so fantastic; their personalities really shine through their emails; they're both incredible funny, especially Beth, and both have insecurities. They confide in each other, and as much as you want their chapters to come up to find out what's happening regarding something or other, you can't help but feel uncomfortable. Some of these things are real personal, and I felt like I was invading their privacy right along with Lincoln. And yet... it was almost like favourite characters on a soap, I couldn't wait for the next installment, and would have to remind myself that these women, within the context of the story, are real people, it's not something someone made it, it's their lives. And we - Lincoln and I - are snooping.
The changes that come over Lincoln, though, when he discovers that the new guy at work Beth has nicknamed "My Cute Guy" is actually him is so damn adorable. In some ways, Lincoln is still like a teenager; it's been so long since he's been with one, and to find someone finds him attractive - that all those emails about My Cute Guy were actually talking about him - he can't believe it. He has already started falling for Beth through her words - her heart, her humour, her honesty and sincerity - and to discover that she has somehow seen him without him realising, and actually fancies him. Well. It's enough to send his heads to the clouds. I am undecided as to whether I'm a little bit in love with Lincoln, or want to adopt him.
Attachments is such a sweet, beautiful love story! It really is amazing! I personally would have preferred a few more pages at the end, to see more of what happened once they had finally met properly, but it's still such an adorable story! I will most definitely be continuing to read whatever Rowell writes - YA or adult, those books will be mine!
Thank you to Orion for the review copy.
Published: 2nd February 2012
Rainbow Rowell's Website