Attachments: A Novel

Image of Attachments: A Novel
Release Date: 
March 26, 2012
Reviewed by: 

No stranger to the newspaper industry herself, Rainbow Rowell’s debut is incredibly fun, quirky and full of charm; and reads like You’ve Got Mail meets Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Courier co-workers and best friends, Jennifer and Beth, spend their days regaling each other with private moments of their personal lives through email—despite concerns that their missives may not be for their eyes only.

Jennifer, a copyeditor and self-proclaimed baby-phobe, starts the day’s email to Beth with an irrational pregnancy scare and a deep-seated concern for committing the horrible act of shaken baby on her hypothetical-newborn; as well as the very real possibility of letting down her husband, Mitch, who so badly wants to have children.

Beth, Courier movie reviewer and girlfriend to commitment-challenged rock star Chris, gently tries to dissuade Jennifer of her crazy maternal misgivings and swings the topic around to her younger sister’s impending marriage, her own lack of engagement and the everlasting (very unlikely) hope that creatively-brooding Chris will some day come around and realize he too wants to be married with lots of kids.

Then there’s Lincoln, the very shy, Dungeons and Dragons-playing, overly educated, manchild who moved back home with his mother after a devastating, college breakup with his high-school sweetheart, Sam. Unsure of what to with his life, Lincoln accepts a nightshift IT position at the Courier enforcing Internet security, which includes reading inappropriate emails flagged by the system.

Lincoln is introduced to Beth and Jennifer when their corporate-illicit emails begin showing up in his inbox. Rather than turn the girls in, Lincoln finds himself entertained by Jennifer and Beth and as time goes on, he realizes he’s falling for Beth. Although constantly promising himself that he’s going to stop reading the girls’ messages, Lincoln finds he can’t go a day without Beth’s witty banter.

Unable to rationalize being in love with a woman he has never even seen, much less met in person, things get even more interesting when and email from Beth reveals she has just sighted a very cute guy in the office and nicknames him “My Cute Guy.” Disappointed at first, Lincoln resolves to finally give the girls their privacy, until he realizes the cute guy is him.

Rainbow Rowell does a fantastic job of rendering characters that are relatable, endearing and very realistic. Ms. Rowell skillfully weaves captivating relationships, from the witty and insightful banter of Jennifer and Beth to the incredibly smothering and semi-inappropriate relationship between Lincoln and his mother.

Perfectly capturing the euphoria and crushing disappointment of first love, Attachments chases away the blues with the promise of new love—in all its awkward splendor.