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!
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.
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?