Rainbow Rowell’s books have been hit or miss for me – I adored Fangirl but didn’t see the appeal in Eleanor and Park. Until now, I’ve only read her young adult novels, and when I found out she has a bit of an adult catalog, I was thrilled (plus this one is a romance set in the 90s – the perfect setting). This book felt more like a return to form to me – it was adorable, and realistic, and fun – everything I had hoped for.
Attachments has a unique format: it follows Lincoln as he begins his new gig – a IT technician in the 90s (the birth of the internet). One of his key duties is to monitor employee emails – he quickly finds himself fascinated with the messages and lives of Beth and Jennifer, two other employees at the newspaper. As their lives unfold in their daily email correspondence, Lincoln becomes more and more fascinated with the women and begins take a step back to reflect on his own life (or the lack thereof).
Going into this book, I was fully prepared to dislike Lincoln – he snoops on (and basically stalks) two women via their emails. I thought he would be a fundamentally disagreeable character, but he turned out to be my favorite part of the book. While his ongoing snooping is definitely wrong, he acknowledges that and shows remorse. Moreover, he grows throughout his time reading the emails: his ultimate character arc was perfectly satisfying and a lot of fun to read. The rest of the cast was equally well rounded – Beth and Jennifer were realistic and joys to read about, and the rest of the staff at the newspaper had their own plot-lines that only served the story, never hindered it.
My only issue with the book is the pacing of the first 100 or so pages. It was definitely on the slower side, and the rest of the book was far better paced. It took a long time to set the stage of Lincoln’s life and for Beth and Jennifer’s emails to really become interesting and start defining their characters. Once the stage was finally set, I was completely hooked on the goings on of Beth and Jennifer. There were no big, unrealistic, dramatic moments, but the everyday events of their lives were relatable. It almost felt like talking to your office friend over the water cooler about what their weekend was like.
Attachments is a great example of how a story can be effectively told in two mediums without losing character definition or plot pacing. While the book starts off a bit slow, it is well worth sticking around and finding out what happens to Lincoln, Beth and Jennifer. It’s a cute romance and an even better coming of age story. 4/5.