Attachments

October 2, 2017
Attachments Book Cover Attachments
Rainbow Rowell
Contemporary
Plume
March 27th, 2012
Paperback
323
Library

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you..."

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

(via Goodreads)

 

I am a HUGE Rainbow Rowell fan. I am drawn to realistic characters, character-driven stories, and character/relationship development over the course of a story. This is what Rowell is known for! But I had never read her debut novel Attachments. Why? Part of it is that I didn’t want the magic to end. Now I have no more Rowell books to read! But part of it is also that it’s a debut novel– will I love it just as much? Will I find her early works lacking? I often struggle with debuts; I was afraid of what I might find between the pages.

Thankfully, Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books convinced me– Now is the time! We did a super fun buddy read together. I sent her 7 (okay, 8!) questions about Attachments, and she sent 7 to me as well. Instead of the usual post, I’ve responded to all her questions below. It has been a really fun way to interact with this book and spend more time chatting with Evelina.


Check out Evelina’s Buddy Read review of Attachments on her blog!

Evelina’s Questions

How do you feel about people “working” like that? I know you’re a busy person at your job, and so am I, so it really baffles me how people essentially do nothing at the office, to have this much time to gossip, chat, email each other and argue and TV shows. Do you think it’s… realistic? Do you think it’s a 90’s-early 2k problem? We all seem to work with the internet now and not waste THAT much time.
As embarrassing as it is to say, I think this *is* realistic! Now, we are both intrinsically motivated people– so I feel like this sort of gossip and such isn’t common for the two of us. I know I’m the person who doesn’t even really ask people how their weekend went… O_o That said, there are so many people who work in my office who never seem to do ANYTHING. It’s like they don’t have a single thing to do, or anyone watching what they are doing. It’s like they are always at each other’s cubes chatting about something or another unrelated to work. Blows my mind.
In short: realistic, but a bit more than what I’d expect from the work-focused social circle I hang out in.

 

I felt like this story is nearly for everyone, as it has SO MANY things to relate to. It’s, I could say, the most relatable story I have ever read! Is it just me? Which of the things could you relate to the best?
Hahaha! I’m soooo glad you said this! Yes, this is one of the things I love most about Rowell’s works. I find all her stories relatable, honestly. I could certainly relate to sending emails about ridiculous things at work, worrying about all the silly things like what to wear to a wedding and how to talk to my friends about things— Rowell is the queen of character development in my eyes. I always feel like her characters are fully realized. They have merits and flaws, but they also talk about inane things and have bodily functions! Even the silly side characters are like that– Doris is my favorite secondary character.

 

There’s something so refreshing about reading ‘in’ 1999. Could you feel the vibe? I certainly could. Things are different now. So very different, and not just outwardly.
Oh yes. This reminded me so much about dial-up internet, pay phones still existing, and the complete freak out of Y2K. In fact, my family definitely stocked up on some bottled water and canned goods (just in case), so when Lincoln’s sister addressed it I was literally laughing aloud. Endless supplies of SpghettiOs! The Pokemon Movie and Fight Club? Yes, please. The best part about Rowell’s endless amount of pop-culture references is that they all felt appropriate. Since Beth is the film critic for the newspaper, it was literally her job to talk about all of these cultural phenomena. Plus, Logan working in tech helped call out the (now grossly outdated) technology of 1999. Those kids playing Doom? Slays me.

 

It’s such a slow-burn love story. Do you prefer that kind of romance or the opposite? What did you think of this kind of story?
Honestly, I’m really conflicted on my opinions here. I love the slow-burn love story. There were times I wanted to yell at Beth, Jennifer, and Lincoln for how they were acting. I was definitely hooked! However, I really struggled with the strange stalker-esque nature of Lincoln and Beth’s relationship. I guess it is a bit fairer since they were both doing some stalking…but I was put off by it. I’m glad that things worked out in the end, but the nature of how their relationship developed left me less invested in the relationship than I wanted to be by the end. That said, I still love all the characters as individuals deeply.

 

Do you believe in “love before first sigh”, as Lincoln puts it? (P.S. it’s literally my life story)
I believe that it MUST exist for people. But, I also believe that not everyone is capable of the same life experiences. For example, I’ve never had a love-at-first-sight moment. But, I also don’t find people physically attractive until I know their personality. This even happens with actors/actresses! And “knowing their personality” doesn’t mean I have to know them personally. Just have some interactions with them. But there are other people I know who are constantly pulled towards physical appearance. So in summation: I believe in it, but I don’t think I’ll ever experience it.

 

It was interesting reading this because some of the things in the book wouldn’t go through today. Like all the poking fun at names. Or little people. Or Jennifer talking of herself as ‘fat’. It would be considered offensive today, possibly. What do you think about this?
Hm. I don’t know if I agree with you, honestly. I think they wouldn’t be well received today, but I don’t think it would be a deal-breaker for a publisher. The Twitterverse might get upset, but a lot of these things (like Jennifer calling herself fat) are totally part of our culture and expectations. I think the more critical thing to look at is how the characters respond to these. For example, Beth does a decent job trying t to help Jennifer deal with her weight challenges, but this is deeply embedded due to Jennifer’s uncomfortable relationship with her mother. That section could be kept if Beth’s responses were more supportive and helped Jennifer get over her past. But, the same time, Jennifer’s development isn’t really the focus of this story…. I have more concerns with the stalker-esque plot device, honestly.

 

I couldn’t resist the urge of imagining you and me as Jennifer and Beth. Did you? 😀
Obviously. It made reading this book soooo much better! It made me wish that we were closer to each other. I imagine that if we keep this up, we’ll be just as sassy and well integrated. If only we could grab a drink together after work…


Some additional thoughts I wanted to express:

I adore Rowell’s characters. That’s obvious from above. However, Rowell does this wonderful thing in helping us get to know these characters– she only presents them to us as they see themselves. Lincoln is a self-prescribed nerd who struggles with self-esteem. He enjoys Dungeons and Dragons, reading fantasy novels, and generally being alone. Social situations are not his forte. Now– what do you see in your head? Is it an over-six-foot tall muscular man with a chiseled jawline? I doubt it. Is that who Lincoln is? Yes. It is.

I want someone whose heart is big enough to hold me.

This is brilliant! Rowell lets the reader get to know the character and decide how each of them “look” based on personality. It’s not until the characters begin talking about each other that you realize the image in your head is not appropriate. I experienced this with all three of our protagonists, and it was a beautiful exercise in breaking down stereotypes.

I believe that worrying about a bad thing prepares you for it when it comes. If you worry, the bad thing doesn’t hit you as hard. You can roll with the punch if you see it coming.

Also– can we just take a second to point out that Rowell wrote a Chick Lit book with a male protagonist? And it works well! Not only that, but this book focuses on far more than romance. This is really three individual growth stories which get tied together. We live out Jennifer’s trepidation about becoming a new mother stemming from the complex and damaging relationship she has with her own mother. We live out Beth’s ignorance regarding the myriad of ways love can manifest and exist and her fear of allowing her dreams to grow and change from her youth. We live out Lincoln’s wayward development as he attempts to struggle out from beneath the oppression of the women in his life, both self-inflicted and not, and begin to live his own life. Really, Attachments focuses on family, friends, and personal growth.

I know that people change. I thought… I thought we’re going to change together. I thought that’s what it meant to be in love.

A wonderful demi-epistolary style novel, I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes character development and relationships, contemporary novels, and lovers of Rainbow Rowell’s writing.

Finally, I am super excited that Evelina and I were able to do this buddy read (don’t forget to check out her post!).  Similar to a book club, but still exciting and different. Plus, I got to examine how I present my posts a bit as well. This is definitely a fun new format. I look forward to doing more buddy reads with her (and others!) in the future.


What do you think?

  • Have you read Attachments? What do you think?
  • What do you think of this buddy read post format? Do you like it? What would you modify?
  • Do you participate in buddy reads? Why or why not?

27 Comments

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks October 2, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Yaaaaay your review!!!

    First of all, let me say. Rowell isn’t Dickens. There might just be new novels in the future 😀

    I can’t believe though, that people actually have “jobs” like that. It makes more sense then why the world, well, ISN’T WORKING OUT 😀

    Personally, I really related to the pregnancy thing. Like you don’t even know how much. I kept quoting to Bf, and he kept saying, hey, that’s you! xD I feel like it might have made a few changes in my mind about that as well. I feel like Rowell might know this from up close, she wouldn’t be able to speak about it so well otherwise. And it’s good to hear it from a source that isn’t just saying “oh, you’ll grow up one day” (which is a load of bull when it comes to fears.)

    Hahaha you guys actually stocked up 😀 that is adorable. We didn’t, but at nights, I used to fear I would have to live in the smelly soviet basement of our apartment complex. Don’t ask me why the basement would have been any safer. I WAS 12. 😀

    Yes, those kids playing Doom! Brilliant xD

    You’re right, maybe it’s just the Twitterverse that would get horribly upset about names and stuff (and believe me they would!) But for some reason, I had zero problem with the stalker plot 😀 I really can’t say why. I must be a weirdo 😀

    Ooh! I also loved how you don’t see Lincoln like he really is before it’s mentioned! It’s pretty incredible. I could pretty much imagine Rowell chuckling and your big eyes by the middle of the book when you realize that Lincoln does not look like a typical nerd. She’s go like “GOT YOU” xD hilarious. And yes! I agree about the male protag. That was probably what I couldn’t quite put my finger on that felt so good and refreshing about the book!

    As for the stalkishness… I’ve so done stalking like Beth. It’s part of being a less popular girl 😀 I absolutely know what it feels like! Yet another relatable thing :DDD

    Now let me just move back and admire my own text on your blog. Ah. Feels good, man. 😀

    • Jackie B October 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      YAAAAAAY BUDDY READS! I’m super excited we had a chance to do this. THANK YOU for suggesting it. moar in the future plz? This is an amazing alternative-type book club.

      No, Rowell isn’t Dickens. But that’s good! The world doesn’t need 100% Dickens by volume. (Also, I might or might not have ever read Dickens? Am I missing out? I’m sure I am…)

      There are SO MANY REASONS this world isn’t working out, honestly. But in my experience most people are in their job for the sake of earning dollars. And most people will do as little as possible to earn those dollars. And… well, when you aren’t in love with or motivated by or inspired by your job– what is there for you to do? Are you striving to make great things happen? Probably not. This is why people think Millennials are all crazy job-hoppers– they are! They are looking for jobs which are fulfilling and make their lives have meaning. Not to just have a job and earn and paycheck. #EndRant

      I like that observation about Jennifer’s experience potentially paralleling Rowell’s life. You’re right; just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you NEED to have children. It’s super frustrating. So many of my friends are intending to be DINKs forever– I say, have your cake and eat it too!

      We TOTALLY stocked up. Like you, I was a child, so I don’t really recall much of the real fears. Something about losing AIM forever? Well, we’ll lose it at the end of the year anyway. XD But, seriously. I don’t blame you for fearing that you’ll be living in a “smelly Soviet basement”. I was nervous I’d only eat pre-packaged meals forever. That’s scary for a 12-year-old!

      I don’t think you’re a weirdo for letting go of the stalker-plot! There are a TON of people in the world who seem really into this. I guess the big thing is that I can’t relate to it. I can’t recall a time I ever did anything which might be defined as “stalkerish”. *shrug* Care you elaborate a bit on your stalkerish experiences? 😉

      Hahaha! I love the idea of Rowell laughing her butt off at us for not seeing Lincoln as he was. I’ve got this amazing image in my mind of him as a Freshman-15 style linebacker who suddenly starts working out and eating well and (like all men) loses 90% of his body fat and is suddenly ripped and gorgeous. It’s a hilarious transformation in my head if you consider I started with skinny-bookworm-with-glasses.

      Your text is always welcome in my blog. Always. <3

  • LairOfBooks October 2, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Goodness I really enjoyed this buddy read & I wasn’t even a part of it lol! loved the way Evelina poses her questions giving some of her insight as well. I have never read a Rowell book however I have a copy of Attachments just waiting to be read & you both have convinced me to do so soon. I love how the characters are not at all what we perceive them to look like, breaking stereotypes we may me harboring. Loved this! glad you both enjoyed the read & now I’m boosting it to the top of my tbr 🙂

    • Jackie B October 6, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Thank you so much, Lilly! That means a lot to us both (yup, speaking to Evelina here– I’m a butt. 😉 ).

      I’m SUPER glad we inspired you to pick this book up. It’s a ton of fun– plus, I think it’s the best place to start with Rowell’s work. It’s not her strongest novel, and I still adore it! She writes amazing characters and character relationships. I look forward to your eventual review. 🙂

      • LairOfBooks October 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

        Haha! You’re always welcome ☺️ and it does seem like the best place to start for me since I really can’t seem to get myself interested enough to read Fangirl ‍♀️lol

  • KrystiYAandWine October 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Love the discussion post! That was really fun to read. 🙂 I also LOVE Rainbow’s books. Now you’re in the same sad boat as with with anxiously waiting for her to give us some new book news! We do of course have the comic though. I’m really looking forward to starting that.

    My and book bestie TOTALLY IM all day at work. Usually talking about book-related things TBH, which isn’t to say we aren’t also working at the same time. I’m sure we’d be more productive without it, but I know I wouldn’t enjoy work as much without that social interaction. I definitely feel like that element of the story is accurate and totally relatable. 🙂

    Fun pick for a buddy read! 🙂

    • Jackie B October 8, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Thank you again for letting me know about the comic. I am super excited. At least there is some thing new coming from Rowell! The only downside is that I’m sure the comic will be extraordinarily time-consuming, so it will probably take EVEN LONGER for a new Rowell book to be released.

      • KrystiYAandWine October 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

        That’s probably true, sadly. What I wouldn’t give for a new Rainbow book. I think I’m going to read the comic this week though. As long as things go according to plan anyway…

        • Jackie B October 12, 2017 at 11:43 am

          Oooh. Will you be posting a review?! I’d love to read it. 😀

          • KrystiYAandWine October 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

            I posted it to Goodreads, but I won’t be able to get it on the blog right now. I liked it! I do feel like I need to read the previous comics to really understand it though.

            • Jackie B October 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm

              I totally understand. Your blog schedule is PACKED. I’ll have to stalk your GR account then. Hopefully things will clear up as you keep reading!

              • KrystiYAandWine October 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm

                It’s true. I had to stop posting reviews for every book, because I didn’t have time to get any reading done! It’s all good though. I’m almost at my one year mark, and I feel like I’m starting to figure out a good schedule for getting everything done. 🙂

              • Jackie B October 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

                EXACTLY. My post from yesterday covers this a bit– I was prioritizing reading over review writing, so I had to change those goals. I’m about to hit a 2 year mark and I still haven’t found my stride. I am really impressed! Keep up the great work. 🙂

                We really must do a buddy read sometime in the future. I think that would be a blast.

  • Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel October 3, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I love this idea of interview questions. I just saw Evelina’s post and it ws so fun. And now I am glad to read yours. Nice to know that you are a Rowell fan. I have not picked any Rowell books yet. But I am glad both of you found all the characters in Attachments adorable.

    • Jackie B October 8, 2017 at 8:43 am

      It was a TON of fun. I’d definitely recommend this format to others who are interested in buddy reads. It’s easy over a distance and still kept us connected.

      Based on your typical reading selections, I don’t know if you’d enjoy reading Rowell’s works– they are are fairly fluffy, but they have serious (and well-developed!) characters and relationships between them. I think I’d recommend Eleanor and Park to you first, even though it a YA romance. If that’s not appealing, perhaps Fangirl?

  • Greg Hill October 4, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Well this makes me totally want to read this book now lol. I agree that Rowell writes SUCH relatable characters! And I got a laugh out of the “working” thing too. I have definitely seen that where people sorta spend a lot of the day hanging out or mixing work with social time. Not that I’ve ever done it ha ha …

    • Jackie B October 8, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Right– not that *any* of us have ever done it. 😉 It’s so hard to stay fully focused like that at work, honestly. You should definitely read Attachments — I’d love to read your review, Greg!

  • theorangutanlibrarian October 7, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    To be honest, I like a good slow burn, but man, I love that term “love before first sigh”. Anyhoo- I love the sound of this- I always like Rowell’s characters- they’re so realistic and you’ve reminded why I definitely need to pick this up at some point! Great review!

    • Jackie B October 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you! What of Rowell’s other works have you read? What do you enjoy the most? She’s one of my all-time favorite authors, so I am always curious about how she moves others. 🙂 I’d definitely recommend Attachments if you’re a Rowell fan!

      • theorangutanlibrarian October 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

        You’re welcome! Well I’ve read Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, Landline, Kindred Spirits and Carry On- and my favourite was by far Carry On (but then, it’s one of my favourite books period) So I definitely think I need to read this at some point!

        • Jackie B October 13, 2017 at 10:17 am

          This is the only one left! Just like me!! My favorite is also Carry On — but I wonder how much of this is because it’s her most recent novel? I feel like with each new book I adore her writing even more. 😀

          • theorangutanlibrarian October 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

            hehe yes!! Possibly! It’s just a phenomenal book and I seriously hope she writes more like it!! Me too! 😀

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer October 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    This is a Rainbow Rowell I haven’t read… actually now I wonder how many more I have?!

    I love when we are presented with a character sans much description then get that later naturally from other characters! You make me concerned about the stalkerish plot but I know when people get obsessive they read what they can on the internet, etc so I can see how that would work in an office romance…

    Such a great review Jackie and I loved the format! I agree it was fun to read and I felt like I was at a book club! YAY buddy reads! ♥️

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Probably not that many left, since she only has 5 novels and 2 short stories (about to be published in a collection!)– but she is working on the Runaways comic! I can’t wait to read that once it’s in trade paperback form. I struggle with single issues comics…

      I understand your reservation about the stalkish plot. It was a point I thought I’d really get caught up on, but the way Rowell writes makes it easy to understand. It’s really intriguing and not as creepy as I expected it to be. I would certainly look into it if you enjoy Rowell’s writing!

      When are *we* going to do a buddy read? 😉

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea October 15, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I love this! Debby and I have always enjoyed approaching our buddy reads like this. It is so much more insightful and fun <3 I really felt included reading this haha. I hate to admit, I have yet to read Rowell, but my sister is starting this book for her book club reading this month. You have convinced me that I must pick this up. I am a sucker for character driven books. Fabulous!

    • Jackie B October 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      I adore Rowell’s books because I adore character driven books. They are so much fun! Plus, Rowell’s characters always feel *so real*. I look forward to seeing what you think of this book– it’s not the sort of thing I expect you to read, but I think you’d enjoy a lot of the emotional connections the characters make.

      I hope your sister enjoys this too! Let me know what she thinks. 😉

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