Okay, this is probably my favourite Rainbow Rowell book.
Lincoln hates his job. As a internet security officer for The Courier, he works the night shift doing nothing but reading other people’s email. Sure, since he lives with his mom and he has a small social life, his savings have been growing, but he’s twenty eight and still doesn’t know what he wants in life.
His only solace is Jennifer and Beth. Or rather, their emails, which are constantly flagged due to personal content.
Lincoln’s never reported them though. Beth and Jennifer’s emails are too nice, too funny, too compelling. He doesn’t want them to end.
Especially when he realizes he’s fallen in love with Beth.
The plot of Attachments is just so cohesive. As we learn about Lincoln’s ex-girlfriend, his overbearing mother, his terrible job, his uncertainty about the future, his feelings for Beth, they all pile on top of one another.
This is really a story about Lincoln, and how his job—or rather the people at his job—makes him a better person. The romance is actually tangential to this, and yet key at the same time.
I like how Rowell has set it up so Lincoln has to fall in love with who Beth is instead of what she looks like. I also appreciate that at several points in the novel I was genuinely unsure if Beth and Lincoln would end up together (literally up until the end) and I was actually okay with the idea that they wouldn’t.
I’ll admit that the ending seemed rushed, but it suited because, like I said before, the romance is almost a side plot.
(I swear there are no spoilers above…read carefully!)
Rowell just has this way for writing characters who are remarkably real. Lincoln is ridiculously relatable, and actually reminds me of Ted Moseby from How I Met Your Mother. Though if we’re talking about appearances, in terms of size he’s more like Marshall. (Why did people on Goodreads have such a hard time picturing him? Just imagine a muscular build that borders on cuddly and make him a nerd. They exist.)
Beth and Jennifer get an astounding amount of character development given how restricted the reader’s access is to them. Beth is a hardcore romantic and movie lover, while Jennifer is the more practical-until-the-absolutely-terrifying-happens.
I swear Lincoln’s mother is my mother. Always making sure I have food, clingy and talkative. And I love his sister and his friends. And Doris! All of them are well developed, have roles to play, and are distinguishable.
I am thoroughly impressed by Rowell’s writing here. The scenes bleed into each other, building on top of one another to form a story.
Rowell just knows how to write conversations. Everything seemed natural, and each character has a partucular voice. This is particularly significant since the two female leads only have their voices for most of the novel.
A huge part of this book is about commitment. Commitment to relationships, to the future, to the promises we make to ourselves.
Lincoln doesn’t know what to commit himself to. Beth is so hung up on a committed relationship she doesn’t see that one half isn’t really invested. And Jennifer is scared of the commitment of being a mother.
I also like how this is tackles the idea of privacy on the internet. We take this kind of thing for granted, now that we’re so open on social media. But I remember my parents warning me to use fake names and to check with them whenever I went online. The internet was a scary place (it still is, really) and the struggle Lincoln has ethically is interesting. (And very You’ve Got Mail-ish)
Attachments is a heartwarming story about becoming an independent person and falling in love. Impossibly sweet and yet relatably real, I really do adore this book.
The biggest indication for me, though, is that I never questioned why everyone loved this book. Unlike my previous experiences with Rowell’s work, I loved it instantly.
Recommendation: Buy. Fans of You’ve Got Mail Rowell, Stephanie Perkins and John Green should pick this book up, stat.