Friday, March 16, 2012

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I'm starting to gear up for my next brown bag luncheon, so I need to read some books outside the mystery genre. Rainbow Rowell's debut novel, Attachments, was perfect for the first one. The hardcover came out a year ago, but the paperback has just been released. It's funny and romantic with protagonists that are just nice people. Attachments is charming. I read it in one day because I just had to see how Rowell managed to bring the characters together.

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

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.


Bev Stephans said...

I have this book, but I'm kind of stuck in the middle. I will go back to it eventually as I really want to finish it. Good review!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Bev. I really liked this one. Sometimes it just isn't the right book. I understand.

Karen C said...

Sounds good. Will add to the list probably for a library read.

Nancy said...

This is a book I'd like to read for a break in my mystery lineup. I don't know about Colin Firth, but about every third book I read mentions George Clooney.
I see that you're reading Angelina's Bachelors. I loved that book!

Marce said...

I like how you set the time period of the scare of Y2K and Dungeons and Dragons comment made me smile.

Can't wait to read this one, last I checked it wasn't available on kindle yet, but i'm waiting.

Lesa said...

This was a nice break from mysteries, Nancy. And, I just finished Angelina's Bachelors. Loved it, too. You're right, Karen. It's a library-type book. I hope you enjoy it, Marce, when it's available.