Thursday, 20 February 2014

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell


It looks like I'm the last book blogger to read and review Rainbow Rowell's debut novel, Attachments, so I'll try to keep it short. The plot is simple: Lincoln, IT and systems security man at a newspaper office, is responsible for reading any emails flagged as potentially inappropriate sent from company addresses. It is 1999 and the world is still getting used to the internet, and personal emails from company accounts are a definite no-no. Not that this stops Beth and Jennifer! Their names keep popping up again and again, and Lincoln knows he ought to send them a warning, but they are just so likeable and funny that he can't bring himself to do it. And then he realises he's falling in love...

I admit it: I loved Attachments because I'm nosy. Aren't we all? Who can honestly say they've never stalked an ex on Facebook, or spied on twitter-conversations between people we like. Half of Attachments gives that same feeling that we, like Lincoln, are privy to something personal between friends. Like Lincoln, we get to know Beth and Jennifer through their emails, which reveal them to be people who are a lot of fun to hang out with, sharing their relationship and family woes, quirks and insecurities, and a deep abiding friendship.

To my surprise, it was Lincoln that I found myself relating to the most. All three characters are about my age (28) but it is he who has moved back to his mother's house, is in an unsatisfying job, quiet and a bit nerdy and still not over a relationship that ended many years ago. It was part painful, part reassuring to see myself in this character, putting into words the fear that's always in the back of my mind.
"I think I missed my window," he said.
"What window?"
"My get-a-life window. I think I was supposed to figure all this stuff out somewhere between twenty-two and twenty-six, and now it's too late." 
And of course, Lincoln finds out through the course of the novel that it's not too late at all. He's a really lovely character, thoughtful, kind and well-liked by anyone who comes into contact with him. He befriends an older employee in the staff room and enjoys listening to her stories about her dogs, shares his lunch with her and helps her move house. He prefers nights in playing Dungeons and Dragons to nights out partying, and buys violet-patterned bedsheets instead of something more manly, because he likes violets.

Lincoln doesn't need to see Beth to know he's in love with her: her emails to Jennifer are full of fun, kindness and her sense of humour. And occasionally they mention "My Cute Guy," who she has seen about the offices, but whose identity is unknown. On the first mention of this mysterious stranger, I crossed my fingers that he might turn out to be Lincoln. When he did, I may have let out a girly squeal. Their romance - if you can call it a romance when the characters don't interact for most of the book - is really heartwarming and sweet, and I really enjoyed watching it play out towards its conclusion.

If you're looking for a chick lit novel for people who don't like chick lit, let me recommend Attachments. 

9 comments:

  1. Up until recently I felt a bit like I'd missed my window to meet someone. But then at the end I really related to Beth with the thing about being surprised about not needing space. Because I always needed that space in relationships til now and it's suddenly become the space that's the low part of the week. So I guess I related a bit to both of them.

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    1. I feel like I've missed my window for figuring out what I want to do with my life, or do anything exciting and daring, let alone meeting someone. (Actually, I'm really happy being single... I just wish that wasn't the only option.) It's great that you've found someone who you DON'T feel the need for space from, that's really special. :)

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  2. I just jumped on the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon this month with Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, so I'm right there with you! I want to read this one next, it does look really cute. :)

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    1. It is very cute, and less emotionally traumatic than Eleanor and Park (though I did tear up at one point.)

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  3. I love love love Attachments. I still don't think that rom-coms are my thing, but if she's writing them I AM THERE. Pretty much anything she writes I'll pick up

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    1. Rom-coms are definitely not my thing; I'm having to train myself into appreciating romance and not just making "Yuck! Mushy!" comments about it. But Rainbow Rowell makes it easy because her characters are so lovable, and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to want them to get their happy-ever-after. Looking forward to "Landline."

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  4. I totally related to Lincoln, which surprised me (because ewwwww, he's a boy!) but yeah, I love this so so much. My friend and I were talking about it on twitter a while ago, and she was like 'what if there's a Lincoln out there falling in love with our tweets and I was like OMG YES!

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    1. You never know, there could be. That would be lovely.

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  5. I am a great Rowell fan and once again was in love with these characters and the sweet, sad and funny twists and turns this story takes. Simple and believable, looking forward to the next one!
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Come and say hello! I don't bite (well, except at the full moon...)

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