Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, released in 2011
“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you…”
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say?
Let’s get this out of the way: this book is set in 1999. Computers are new, they are big, and they are exciting. The looming threat is Y2K and if you don’t know what that is, you’re a true millennial.
Welcome back to my Chooseday Tuesday. The book selected (by you!) for me to read and review this week is Rowell’s Attachments. Don’t forget to stick around to the end to vote on next week’s book!! As to this one. . . It was a bit of a struggle. I felt a disconnect from the main characters, I didn’t sense a strong forwards momentum on the plot at many times, and the romance (for me) was a bit tough to swallow. Let me explain why and remember, there may be spoilers.
The premise of the book is fairly simple. You have Lincoln, who’s addicted to going to school (like he keeps going back to get another degree), hung up on his ex (literally the only girl he has ever dated), and now working as an “internet security officer,” which means he reads people’s personal email to see if it violates company policy. Then you have Beth, who is dating a super talented musician (but said musician is very distant, but Beth actually doesn’t mind, so where is the problem?), and who works at the company where Lincoln reads the mail. You can guess where this goes. Lincoln falls in love with Beth through her email. To keep things from being too one-sided, Rowell does throw in a slight curveball: Beth spots Lincoln at work one day, dubs him “Mr. Cute Guy,” and falls for him as well.
My first problem with this book was that I couldn’t connect to the characters. A lot of this is on me, and not Rowell. These are people nearing their thirties with their main concern being marriage and children and careers. I’m only twenty-two, so none of these really click for me. However, while these concerns are predominant in the characters’ lives, they are never fully explored? So even if I wanted to become invested, I can’t. [SPOILERS AHEAD.] Beth’s best friend, Jennifer, is unsure if she wants to become pregnant or not. She does, eventually, then has a miscarriage, and ends the novel pregnant again. If that last sentence lacked any emotional conviction to you, that’s because it’s how Jennifer’s arc felt to me as a reader. The girl has a miscarriage after hating on having kids, but then deciding to have kids! I barely felt what the woman was going through. Part of this could be because Jen and Beth’s part of the story is told through email, but I have read authors who tell complex stories through email and this was not on par.
The plot. Hmm. It’s a romance, so I knew where I was going the whole time. But in the middle of the book, I often felt like I was dragging my feet forwards, just trying to get to that finish line. If I wasn’t fully invested in the characters, I needed to be invested in what they were *doing* or trying to achieve. But … that wasn’t much? Beth had no overarching plot. She had a wedding to go to and Rowell dropped some lines about her boyfriend not being ideal, but it was so subtle that I felt like I was looking for problems, not accepting what the author was creating. [SPOILERS] Yes, at the end of the book, Chris is said to be a shitty, not for Beth type of dude, but honestly? The lead up was not great. [END SPOILER] Even Lincoln’s plotline was a little forced. He himself sums it up, saying he just goes to work, goes home, sleeps, goes to work. A lot of his days are like this, and when they’re not, they don’t have much useful-to-the-plot action.
Lastly, the romance itself. Okay, okay, so I got to the end. The characters weren’t 100%, the plot didn’t drive me onwards, but now I’m at the end, so I’m getting the romance I’m promised, right? I don’t even want to mark this as a spoiler because we should all know we get a happily ever after. The only thing is … it just feels kind of rushed and tired. I knew from the moment I opened the book I was getting this ending, and it was maybe seven pages long? And if the middle had nothing to offer me, then the ending should blow my socks off. I should get a full-on elopement in Vegas or something. Instead they kiss and are dating, the end.
Would I recommend this book? Personally, no. It did nothing special for me. I would classify this book as a pure romance (because you aren’t getting much else, there is no learned lesson or anything) and even the romance was a letdown. I came into this review planning on a three crown rating, but honestly, two and half is the best I can give it. I could go on but I just won’t.
AND NOW for Chooseday Tuesday next week, what do you recommend? Let’s hope some joy will cross my desk, fingers crossed… As always, comment the title or author or number of the book you want me to read and review!
(1) Chain Letter by Christopher Pike [Horror]
When Alison first read the chain letter signed “Your Caretaker,” she thought it was some terrible sick joke. Someone, somewhere knew about that awful night when she and six other friends committed an unthinkable crime in the desolate California desert. And now that person was determined to make them pay for it.
(2) Every Day by David Levithan [Teen Fiction]
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
(3) Coyote Moon (A Buffy Summers novel) by John Vornholt [Paranormal]
During the summer vacation in Sunnydale, California, the carnival has come to town. At the carnival Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris hook up with two carnies, but Buffy Summers senses something evil about them. She thinks it has something to do with the sudden influx of coyotes in the area. Eventually Buffy learns that the carnies are skin-walkers and that they are in town to raise Spurs Hardaway, their old master, from his grave in one of Sunnydale’s cemeteries.
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