Friday, March 16, 2012
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
After ten years or so in college, Lincoln O'Neill is back in Nebraska, living with his mother while he makes good money working in information technology at the Courier newspaper. It's August, 1999, and Lincoln has two jobs at the paper. He's working with a team to get the paper ready for the Y2K threat at the millenium. And, he has a job that makes him feel like a voyeur. He reads staff e-mail at night, the e-mail that has been flagged as inappropriate. Lincoln's supposed to be impartial in enforcing the rules. The newspaper was "probably the last newspaper in America to give its reporters Internet access," and they were afraid of what would happen.
Lincoln does just fine, except when it comes to the e-mail conversations between Beth Fremont, the movie reviewer, and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder. As the two women shared confidences about Beth's boyfriends, weddings, and Jennifer's husband and pregnancy, Lincoln found himself falling for Beth. He was never going to warn them, because he liked them. Lincoln is totally caught up in their lives, and he doesn't even know what they look like. Then, Beth, whose boyfriend is a rock guitarist, starts talking about "The Cute Guy" at the newspaper, Lincoln.
How can Lincoln ever introduce himself to Beth since he's been reading her e-mails?
Lincoln is actually the main character in Rowell's novel, as he tries to find his place in life. Lincoln, the nerd, the Dungeons & Dragons player who still lives at home at twenty-eight, has no real reason to move out, and to move on. Rowell deals beautifully with family dynamics between Lincoln, his mother and his married sister.
Lincoln is lucky in his choice of friends. He has his D&D friends, as well as a friend to go to concerts with, since he wants to see Beth's boyfriend.
And, the e-mail conversations between the two women are funny and touching. It's a true friendship as Beth sees Jennifer through some rocky patches. There's so much humor in their conversations including the obligatory tribute to Colin Firth that appears in so many women's novels now. I laughed out loud when their conversation dealt with censoring information about inseminating tigers.
Go back to 1999. Remember the fear of Y2K. It's only a small part of this book, but it helps set the timeframe for this enchanting story of nerds and friendship and romance. Rainbow Rowell's Attachments is a funny, warm debut novel. I can't wait to share it with friends.
Rainbow Rowell's website is http://www.rainbowrowell.com/
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Plume. 2012. ISBN 9780452297548 (paperback), 323p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.