Customer Reviews: Attachments: A Novel
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on April 15, 2011
When I arrived today at the airport for a flight to Chicago, I was secretly happy that the weather was so awful. I have to admit that I have never in my life ever thought this....and I have flown over 700k miles on United alone. But happy I was. Because it was going to give me more time with Attachments. I started reading. The first delay was announced. I smiled and kept reading. The second delay was announced I was relieved. I needed to know more about Lincoln. I needed to read more of Beth's fabulous one-liners. (How does one know when one's cervix is ripe? Do you thump it?...HA!). They announced boarding....and I thought.... Maybe we will be further delayed....hopefully..... They announced another delay....this time indefinite! I quietly rejoiced. I was the only one of hundreds of Chicago bound passengers smiling as I sank deeper and deeper into Lincoln, Beth and Jennifer....hoping to just continue living in their world.....6 hours of delays was the best flight experience I have had....ever. Because Attachments is everything I want in a book....wonderful characters who I fall in love with and cheer for and care for. Raibow, Thanks for a wonderful flight. If you couldn't tell - I loved it.
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on June 1, 2011
I don't do book reviews but I fell in love with Attachments and didn't want it to end. Chick lit can be a shabby genre, with some slapped together stories and badly written characters. This book is what the genre could be, if publishers looked for authors who wrote from the heart and had an authentic voice. The characters are funny and interesting, but most importantly there's a sweetness in them and in the story itself that I haven't found in a long time. The best thing I can compare it to is Bridget Jones, which is the highest chick lit compliment. Just like Bridget captures a certain Brit tone, Attachments nails a Midwestern attitude that's as familiar as it is surprising. All I can say is read this book.
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on August 29, 2014
I am very mixed about this book. Overall, I enjoyed it. The pace was mostly very well down, the writing was clear and the story was entertaining. Yet it has some negatives as well that kept me from fully ever being engaged with the novel.

This book takes place from two very different perspectives. The first is from Lincoln(Linc). About 65% (guesstimate) of the book we travel alongside him. He is an IT/security man for a newspaper. Late twenties, several degrees under his belt, very smart, and still living with mom. Right away I can see how socially awkward he is. Certain things with him just don't seem to 'click' on a relational or emotional level. Yet I could not help but like him.

The other perspective is all an email/chat between Beth and Jennifer. Two other employees at the paper. Part of Lincoln's job is to search and read emails that get flagged. He is supposed to warn employees about inappropriate computer usage. Yet he is drawn to their conversation. In particular he is drawn to Beth. So he never reports them yet continues the email reading.

In many ways, Linc's behavior is creepy-stalker like. Especially when he checks out her work station and starts going to her boyfriend's concerts. I try to accept the email reading as he is still doing his job (you never know when personal conversations can turn into something else) but the other things were not okay. So even though he is a nice guy, his disconnect gets him in trouble with me.

Another thing that drove me nuts in this book was the chat/email style. Every other chapter at first (and then every third chapter) is between Beth and Jennifer. While this part does not bother me, the STYLE in which is is written drives me nuts! << Beth to Jennifer >>......<< Jennifer to Beth >>...... UGH! All the back and forth gave he a headache at my regular reading speed so I had to really slow down and focus on who says what. A simple << Beth >> with Beth was chatting and << Jennifer >> would have been much easier. Or a --->Beth if it was Jennifer to Beth. Just keeping is simple would have been much appreciated!

The other thing that bugged me is until over halfway through the book I could not visualize anything. We are in the middle of the book at the first mention to what Lincoln looks like. Let me simply say that until then I stereotyped how he looked. He got the adorable geek look. Skinny, hair in the eyes, etc. Apparently not! And therefore my mind was confused to what to imagine. I like knowing what the characters look like a lot sooner.

While the falling in love over reading emails as a third party seems odd, I still enjoyed the story. I have a friend that reminds me greatly of Lincoln (less the stalking) with the highly schooled, social inept gamer mentality. Although with Beth being a movie critic I also see it as a cute fit.

So the story moves nicely and has lots of coming-into-your-own going on. A late-in-life self discovery. I love seeing Linc mature and blossom. I just wish the manor was a bit more healthy. A fun, light and playful read.

*I received an eCopy of this book for review from PENGUIN Group in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.*
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on April 23, 2011
Full disclosure: Rainbow is my friend. But I'll tell you what: If her book was lame, I would just not write a review? Because telling someone to read something that blows is mean to EVERYBODY. You would be all up in her grill. And write mean reviews right here.

But Attachments really IS is gentle, joshing, sweet and hopeful. Rowell puts her funny in the mouths of her well-drawn characters, likable types that you'd be pleased to meet and that you're happy to eavesdrop on. Her late-90s newsroom is familiar to me, because I knew lots of people in the newsroom that inspired her. She captures it delightfully, with attention to workplace detail and local feeling. She cradles her story in the crook of her elbow, and makes it seem easy to craft a narrative that is long on kind insights into good people.

No villain emerges. (Not even some real doofuses whom she pricks but declines to skewer.) Her cast of characters is making the best that they can of all of the day, not just its remains. You'll find yourself happy at their advances and sure their reverses will not last.

If there's a criticism, that's the one. Tension is limited and the sense that truth will out and love will conquer is never far from the surface of the page. It's a bit like Shakespearean comedy, where you know from the first moment that the strapping cast swaggers and sashays on that everything will be OK, at least eventually. There's no moment when we think the root will snap and a hero will plummet to a sad end. The safety harness is visible in every chapter.

I'll not be dissuaded from congratulating our author, all the same. She has found a charming voice with which to enter publishing. Her characters all fairly blink with delight to enter the sunshine and we're lucky to be near them, if only for a moment. I found dozens of smart quips, deft sentences, and natural progress for the story's subjects. I wanted good to triumph and love to conquer. I have no higher praise.
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on November 19, 2012
If John Hughes Wrote a book in 1999 instead of 1986, this would have been it. It has his sense of his humor, his kind of intrapersonal/relationship issues, and Molly Ringwald sort of romance. I read the book in about five or six hours, not straight through, but almost. Lincoln is a big, romantic, galoof (how do you spell that?)who wears his heart on his sleeve. Beth is funny, smart, a little sarcastic. Her e-mail conversations read just like ones I have with my best friends at work. I would totally hang out with her. The characters all have interests in lots of the geek things I'm interested in. If you're not into geek culture, you might not get a lot of the jokes (comics, star wars, D&D, etc.). It's just old enough (like I said, it's set in 1999) for a lot of the pop culutral references to be almost nostalgic.
The characters will do things to move you, to irritate you, to make you laugh, to make you mad. Huh, sorta like real people.
I loved this book.
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“There are moments when you can’t believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening.”

While reading Attachments, I knew something wonderful was happening. Attachments is at first a really weird book to wrap your head around. Someone reading my emails? That’s creepy! And yet, Rainbow Rowell beautifully writes this story in a way that you won’t be able to feel anything but love for Lincoln.

Speaking of, remember when I said Sam Roxton was the ultimate book boyfriend for me? Well, I’m pretty sure Lincoln is right up there as well. There was something about Lincoln that I absolutely fell for, and it wasn’t entirely because of his looks. (hehehe) Lincoln is in his mid 20’s with absolutely no idea what he wants to do with his life, and tons of college degrees because he could never decide on what to study. He lives with his mom and has an average and non-eventful life. LINCOLN IS THE MALE VERSION OF ME. I don’t know what to do with my life. I’m studying Chemistry, but when I finish doing that… WHAT THEN? I understood Lincoln and his wandering. I understood every decision he made because it felt like I was the one doing them. I loved Lincoln not because he was extremely attractive, but because he was so human, so vulnerable, so real, that I couldn’t help but loving him.

Beth is also such a refreshing character. We get to meet her through the emails Lincoln reads, and she is just so hilarious and headstrong! Her personality shone through each and every email, and I couldn’t wait for the next time we would be able to read more. Beth is hilarious when she needs to be, and isn’t afraid to say what thinks at any moment. Beth was so well developed, that I wouldn’t have minded only reading this book solely through the emails she exchanges with her best friend.

Speaking of, every other character in this book had such a unique personality! Even if they only had like 3 pages to themselves, you learned so much about them in that short time. They were so vital to the story, and each of them a different star that shone though at every possible moment.

The romance was perfectly done. It made me feel all happy and gooey on the inside. Seeing Lincoln slowly fall in love with Beth, and Beth falling for Lincoln as well was the perfect pick me up for the day. Not to mention the fact that they are so undoubtedly perfect for each other!

Overall, this Rainbow Rowell book is one you definitely shouldn’t pass up on. It doesn’t have nearly as much hype as it should, and if you’re looking for the perfect read, then definitely pick this book up!

Rating: 5 stars.
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on August 18, 2014
This is the third Rainbow Rowell book I've read. I loved Eleanor and Park, but the ending was such a disappointment. I liked Fangirl quite a bit, but I found it kind of uneven, and again the ending let me down (though not as epically as E&P). Given that track record, I read Attachments with a certain degree of detachment, not wanting to fall in love with the story only to get burned again in the last chapters. As it turns out, I needn't have worried. Attachments is delightful from the first chapter to the last.

That this book is as enjoyable as it is kind of amazing, given the premise. The protagonist, Lincoln, is about as beta as they come, and he could easily have come across as a Creeper rather than a Keeper. He's a 28 year old computer geek who lives with his mother and doesn't get out much, except for his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game. He's still mooning over the only serious relationship he ever had, a youthful infatuation that ended nine years ago. He works the graveyard shift at a local newspaper, monitoring employees email and internet use for violations of company policy, and preparing for Y2K. (Oh, yeah, this book is set in the fall of 1999, on the cusp of the predicted apocalypse of technology which, of course, turned out to be a lot of sound and fury.)

As part of his job, Lincoln reads the email conversations of two reporters, Beth and Jennifer, whose emails get flagged a lot because of their profanity and their frequency. (Employees are not supposed to use email for personal conversations.) LIncoln is charmed (as is the reader) by the women: the way they tease and support each other, the way they life each other up in touch times, the way they are sometimes brutally honest with each other. He begins to develop feelings for one of the women, Beth, before he ever sees her. -And almost as soon as he realizes he's in love, he understands how hopeless it is, because reading her email without her knowing it is so very wrong, even if it is his job.

The fact that Lincoln understands and is troubled by the creepy stalkerish aspects of his job is what saves him from coming across as creepy and stalkerish. (Also, the reader is as charmed by Beth's and Jennifer's emails as Lincoln is, and you don't want him to cut off access by revealing himself.)

Interspersed with chapters devoted to Beth's and Jennifer's emails are chapters devoted to Lincoln. Over the course of the novel, he makes a number of small changes, not really realizing the import of each, until he ultimately overcomes the inertia that has bogged down his life since college: he eats dinner in the break room instead of alone at his desk, he reconnects with old friends, he connects with new friends, he joins a gym, he finds an apartment, he gets a haircut. Individually, each of these changes is insignificant, but by the end of the book, Lincoln has made enormous personal growth. The beauty of it, though, is that his self-improvement doesn't come at the cost of anything or anyone else. He doesn't kick his Dungeons and Dragons friends to the curb in the pursuit of a cooler crowd. He leaves his mother's house, but does so in such a way that she still feels needed and loved. Lincoln becomes a better guy, but he remains true to himself and his roots.

He and Beth doesn't actually connect until 95% of the way through the book. The wait is excruciating, but it's the anticipation of something wonderful, like Christmas morning or a long-planned vacation, and when it comes, it's almost indescribably satisfying. (And yet, Rainbow Rowell does a pretty good job describing it:)

"There are moments when you can't believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening. Lincoln felt like he'd dunked his head into a sink full of Pop Rocks and turned on the water."

(p. 311 of 327)
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on January 16, 2014
4.5 stars

Attachments shares several things with Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, all three take place in Nebraska and all three feature quirky, different main characters. In this one it’s Lincoln, a somewhat stunted 28-year-old who recently started as an internet security office at the local newspaper. His job is basically to read other people’s emails, something he’s not entirely comfortable with. He turns people in for their dirty jokes and other inappropriate things, but he can’t bring himself to send a warning to Beth and Jennifer, two friends who spend large portions of their day emailing back and forth about their personal lives.

The book did start out kind of slow for me. I couldn’t get a good feeling for Lincoln, is he just having a hard time figuring out what he wants to do with his life or is he the creepy guy who lives at home with his mom? Jennifer and Beth I liked pretty much from the get go, but I struggled with the email format. We only get to know Jennifer and Beth through their emails and while we definitely got to know intimate things about them, it was a format that took some getting used to. Speaking of the emails, I know it wouldn’t have been particularly interesting or relevant to the story, but I can’t believe there wasn’t more complaining/gossiping about their coworkers or bosses. Or maybe those emails just didn’t get flagged?

As the story goes on Lincoln, who it quickly becomes clear is a good guy, feels more and more of a connection with Beth and Jennifer, but he particularly likes Beth who is the film critic at the newspaper. But it’s an awkward situation, Lincoln can’t really introduce himself as the guy who reads her emails, plus she has a boyfriend. As time goes on Lincoln still has strong, maybe even stronger, feelings about Beth, but he also starts to build is own life. He makes friends, he goes out, he joins the gym, and I really loved watching his growth over the course of the book.

One of the things I thought a lot about during this book was who people are when communicating over writing verses who they are in person. A little over halfway through the book I thought how weird it would be if we were actually to see Jennifer or Beth speak and I wondered what they would be like. In a way it’s kind of like “meeting” people online. I think the way that I write on this blog or on Twitter is a pretty good representation of my actual personality, but I think it’s just natural that there are differences. In writing you completely control who you want to be since there’s no other way for people to judge, but in real life there are things like body language and tone of voice to interpret.

Bottom Line: The entire time I was reading this book I had a smile on my face. Even at the beginning when I was struggling to click with it. Fangirl remains my favorite Rainbow Rowell book, but Attachments is definitely a close second. I loved the internet monitoring premise, I loved Lincoln’s quirkiness, and I loved the late-1990s setting. This is a must read if you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s young adult books.
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VINE VOICEon April 14, 2011
*Squee!* That was my reaction after finishing this book. I totally adored this story. It's so cute. I know that's probably not the best way to describe a book, but it really is. I absolutely adored this book.

When you first meet Lincoln and hear about his situation, you rather pity him. I mean, he's in his late 20s, lives with his mom and he's only had one girlfriend his entire life. He's also a computer nerd which normally doesn't equal hip. His job consists of him reading other people's emails. He also isn't very good at standing up for himself. That doesn't normally shout out WINNER to the average person. However as the reader learns more about Lincoln's past and what he really wants, he becomes an incredibly likable character. His job of reading emails introduces him to Beth and Jennifer, two workers in his company. He learns about their lives through their emails which he finds he can't stop reading. It is through the emails that he falls in love with Beth even though he doesn't know what she looks like. I don't want to spoil the story but there's a wonderful twist that happens. I was very happy when I discovered it and guessed correctly.

I love how this book combines the email conversations with regular prose. I love stories that use email/IM/twitter formats but I find that I read those books really fast because of the format. While it's fun and different, it feels rather rushed. By combining the emails with a regular narrative, it allows the unique format to blend with the story allowing for a deeper reading but still very enjoyable at the same time. Through the emails we (and Lincoln) learn the deepest secrets of Beth and Jennifer's lives and there's a lot of emotion that flows out of them.

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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on July 23, 2014
This is the second Rainbow Rowell novel I've read, and while I didn't like it as well as Eleanor & Park, I again enjoyed her nearly fairytale look at relationships that seem destined to fail and somehow don't in the end.

In both works I've read, Rowell sets her novel in the past, though this is the more recent past of the 1999-2000 Y2K scare and the earlier days of corporate anxiety about what the Internet would mean for employee productivity. This is in contrast to E&P, which is set in the 80s and written more with a YA mindset (though the YAs to whom I've recommended it have found the time shift a bit off-putting -- what's a Walkman, they ask!) The time period here and the Internet anxiety set the stage for the conflict that the male protagonist, Lincoln, who is hired by a newspaper to review any e-mails flagged by a screening software program for inappropriate communications, will experience when he stumbles on two women who write the most intelligent, witty communications that would make a digital Jane Austen proud. Unsurprisingly, Lincoln falls for the one of the two women, Beth, who is not yet married (though she is in a committed relationship, in theory) without even seeing her, and in a twist that is no real surprise, Lincoln slowly comes to realize that "the cute guy" the two women are writing about who they've seen around the office is actually him.

This book is at its best when the two women are e-mailing, and for the vast majority of the text, these epistolary moments are the only moments we hear their very clever voices. We understand why Lincoln falls for Beth, as the reader feels envy for her relationship with Jennifer and wishes to be a part of it. Rowell keeps the reader in suspense as to whether a love that begins in deceitful e-mail spying can ever come to fruition, and makes sure we care enough about Lincoln so that we never judge him too harshly for what he is doing, even as we hope he'll grow up enough to be worthy of Beth.

A fun beach read or otherwise perfect for some pleasant distraction. I read it in a day, and enjoyed every minute.
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