Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: Attachments

By Melissa Amster

Is it a coincidence that as I started to write this review, "The Rainbow Connection" came on my Spotify player? This is because "Attachments" is by Rainbow Rowell and it's all about people connecting with each least through the Internet. And like the song, the novel gives off a warm, fuzzy feeling throughout.

Jennifer and Beth work for a newspaper and use their work e-mail accounts to write deeply personal messages to one another about their personal life. Little do they know, but someone else is privy to their conversations. Meet Lincoln O'Neill, the newspaper's IT guy who keeps to himself and still lives with his mother at the age of 28. As he continues to read the e-mails between the two women, he likes them enough not to report them for violating e-mail codes....and he finds himself falling for Beth. How can he tell her how he feels without revealing how he has gotten to know her?

I had been interested in "Attachments" ever since I heard about it last year. Then I won a copy and somehow it managed to sit on my bookshelf for a while. I revisited the book this past week and suddenly I couldn't put it down. I was sneaking off at home to read it whenever I could, as it's hard to get time away with three little children in the house. Whenever I could find an excuse to read more, I would. And it went by so fast too. The easygoing and entertaining dialogue and short chapters played a part in that. The e-mails between Beth and Jennifer reminded me of the e-mails between myself and my best friend, at both our best and worst moments. They were very genuine and heartfelt. While there were times that they were just plain funny, there were other times when they were heartbreaking and I could feel exactly what those women felt, whether or not I had been in their shoes before. Even though most of their conversations were just through e-mails, I really got to know them and could understand why Lincoln would fall for Beth so easily. The story was told through Lincoln's perspective, even though it is in third person, and even though I wasn't sure if he'd be likable at first, he really grew on me and became lovable. I just hope he doesn't set an unrealistic expectation for women reading this. I know some real life men who would have a lot to live up to if their girlfriends got a hold of this novel. The supporting characters seemed flawed enough to be realistic, as well. I really liked Doris, Lincoln's friend at work. His Dungeons and Dragons buddies were a lot of fun too.

While I understand that we were only meant to know the girls through e-mails, some of their letters to each other seemed excessively long, like a journal entry or an internal monologue. And they did what I don't even like seeing in diaries....they quoted past conversations and rehashed dialogue. That part seemed a bit unnatural for e-mail conversations, even if they wanted to write long letters (what I like to call "novels") to one another. I also understand that since this was from Lincoln's point of view and he only had e-mails to go on, the reader should also have no clue what Beth and Jennifer look like. I'll admit that was clever as it put us into his perspective even further. However, it drives me crazy when I have one idea of how a character should look and then the description comes in later and they look completely different. What was even harder was that a description of Lincoln wasn't offered until halfway through the book. While I also get why Ms. Rowell made this choice, it threw me off the same way. I'll admit that I originally pictured Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" (Jim Parsons) as Lincoln until a description was finally given. Then I had to re-image him in my mind.

I really enjoyed "Attachments" throughout. There was a lot of humor and plenty of pop culture references. (I especially liked that Quantum Leap was mentioned a lot. I thought it was creative and clever and liked that it was placed at the turn of the century, when e-mail innovations were still somewhat new (Facebook wasn't even around yet) and Y2K was on everyone's mind. It also appealed to my geek side the same way "The Big Bang Theory" does (which is probably why I was prematurely casting Jim Parsons as Lincoln). I've been telling my friends how it's such a cute and sweet story and that they need to read it too. I hope Ms. Rowell continues to write, as her style is remarkable!

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1 comment:

sass said...

I adored this delightful and fun read! Especially enjoyed the Omaha and surrounding area references Rainbow is fresh fun and funny!!!! A must summer read!