And also... Also, he kind of liked Beth and Jennifer, as much as you can like people from reading their e-mail, only some of their e-mail.
-from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
You guys, I'm getting married on SUNDAY! Crazy, right?! In celebration of that wonderful day, I'm sharing my review for one of my favorite romantic novels that I've read this year! Enjoy!
I've been trying to resist the Rainbow Rowell mania for some time now. I liked Eleanor and Park but I didn't love it the way I was told I would. I liked Fangirl a lot more, but it was really long. When I started Attachments, I figured this would settle whether I was a real fan of Rowell or not and I must say, less than 24 hours later when I finished this book, I decidedly became a HUGE fan.
Lincoln works on IT security for a newspaper, The Courier, in 1999. His main job is to read flagged interoffice emails and to prepare for the big Y2K scare. He starts becoming attached to two women in the company who email each other and get flagged all the time. Eventually he begins falling in love with one of them and begins to question his ethics with the invasion of her privacy. Bigger than just a love story, Attachments is a modern day coming of age story that also examines attachments between parents, friends and things that we depend on that might act as a crutch and prohibit us from finding out potential.
As always, Rainbow Rowell sets the bar for crafting smart, flawed, realistic characters that jump right off the page. Each character, whether a main character or supporting, has dimension to them and it's obvious the time Rowell spends developing them. Parents are never stock characters in Rowell's books, and in Attachments, Lincoln's mother (whom he lives with) can be the subject of a book all her own. Her attachment to Lincoln and the psychology of why give this story its greatest added layer that proves Rowell's superiority as a writer. I similarly noticed various characters' attachment to religion as a subtle theme throughout the book, despite most not acting "religious" or living particularly pious lives. There are plenty of examples of attachments, but these were my favorite non-obvious ones.
Another great example of how Rowell crafts her characters is how much I loved Jennifer and Beth simply based on their emails alone. The reader gets the exact same experience as Lincoln because we don't learn anything more about these women than the contents of their flagged emails. I was able to relate so much with Beth throughout the entire novel, which helped me love her and feel what she was feeling; from being familiar with an empty dead end relationship to her quirky use of sarcastic comic relief for everything and her discontent with her arms (This was one of my favorite parts of the book! Also, please God, let my arms look good on my wedding day!), Beth was so much fun. Experiencing these characters the exact same way as Lincoln really made the entire experience of this book much more fulfilling, but this method may not have been as successful without Rowell's expertise in characterization.
Finally, my most whiny complaint about Rowell's work is that often times I think the book is too long for the content. With Fangirl I still kind of hold my ground (even though I loved it), but Attachments helped me recognize that Rowell doesn't take the easy way out to end a story. She allows her characters the time and opportunities to grow (and fail), to get something right the right way. This offers the reader a more fulfilling resolution than a cheesy one. I might be happy with a cheesy easy ending, but I'll think about the book much more if a character is smart, sincere and (in the case of Lincoln) stays true to his moral compass. I'm okay with a book being a little long to get this kind of ending.
Bottom Line: This book might not hit everyone the way it hit me, but it's an absolutely fantastic romantic story with more depth than the premise lets on. I think if it sounds like something you will like, you will probably love it. 5/5 Stars