Monday, September 24, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

For a change of pace, my next book was a light romantic comedy. Set in 1999, it can’t even be called historical fiction, but I was in the mood for something different. I’d read a review of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell over at Sarah Reads Too Much that made me want to give it a try.

Lincoln O’Neil has been hired as the IT guy for The Courier, the daily paper in an unnamed Nebraska city. It’s 1999, and the newspaper is reluctantly transitioning to the digital age–giving its employees limited internet access and e-mail–while preparing itself for various Y2K doomsday scenarios. Lincoln’s job is to monitor what the employees are doing online. He’s supposed to make sure they aren’t downloading porn, gambling, or using office computers for personal emails. He works the late shift and reads other peoples’ electronic communications. Lincoln hates his job.

Moreover, Lincoln is none too crazy about life in general. He has never gotten over the high school girlfriend who dumped him in college. He’s living with his mother. His social life consists of a standing Saturday night Dungeons & Dragons game. He’s bored, lonely, and doesn’t see how to get out of his rut.

Then the email filter picks up correspondence between Beth (feature editor/movie critic) and Jennifer (copy editor.) Beth (in a long-term relationship with a guitarist who’s commitment-phobic) and Jennifer (terrified of having a baby but married to a sweet, sensitive man who wants to start a family) are breaking all the rules about personal emailing on the job. But they do it in an extremely entertaining way. Lincoln is unable to bring himself to send them a warning. And he is unable to stop himself from invading their privacy.

As Lincoln becomes caught up in the drama of the lives of these two friends (and the reader does also!) he’s inspired to make changes in his own life. He gets out more, makes friends, joins a gym. That’s all good. But he has a new problem. He’s fallen quite hopelessly for Beth. Hopelessly, because 1) she has a boyfriend and 2) how can he ever introduce himself as the guy who has been electronically stalking her?

This is an utterly charming book. Lincoln is a sweet protagonist through and through. Still, the real heroes in the book are the two women. Although they are seen only through their emails, their personalities are vivid. Their communications are caring and supportive, very funny, and at times, poignant. Attachments is a light romantic comedy and a feel-good friendship book all rolled into one.


  1. This one looks fun--I'm about to jump on Alice's bandwagon (she's the person who got Sarah to read it) by taking it on vacation soon. Yay!

  2. I have a copy of this floating around but have not gotten to it yet!

  3. I think what is best about the story is that Rowell takes the very common boy-meets-girl story and gives a very different twist. It's a bold move that I think played off very well. I couldn't stop reading and I found myself really getting into the story. I cheered at parts. I became very sad at parts. I got angry at parts. I felt the love at parts. It's a truly wonderful book and just so very fun to read. I feel that Rowell has written a winner and I cannot wait to read more from her. HIGHLY recommended.
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