Monday, September 12, 2011

Audio Review: Attachments: A Novel

Attachments: A Novel
Rainbow Rowell
Dutton/April 14, 2011

From Goodreads ~

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office email. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he thought it was a big opportunity. He hardly imagined he’d be sifting through other people’s inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company email, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but be entertained – and captivated – by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you.” After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart… he can’t see exactly where it’s leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut that is sure to earn a place in the hearts of readers alongside such memorable novels by Jennifer Weiner, Claire Cook, and Marian Keyes.

After reading Ames' review of Attachments: A Novel, I knew I wanted to check out this quirky novel. It turns out the library had it in both print and audio download. Since the print version required me to request it, I decided to go with the audio. You know how we'll say "I couldn't put it down" when referring to a good book? Well, in this case I couldn't stop listening. It was amusing, sweet, cute and even had a few sad moments. It also felt very real. As if you could add -'Based on a true story' to the title. I think it could make for a good date night movie too!

The story is told in the point of view of Lincoln and through the emails of Jennifer and Beth. At first I wasn't sure how this would work as far as the flow of the story. Would it be jarring to move from emails to Lincoln's current POV? It turns out it worked just fine with the emails about Jennifer and Beth giving plenty of insight into their lives and letting the reader get to know these two friends. It didn't feel like Lincoln was being a peeping Tom or invasive when it came to reading the emails. Heck, I would have had a hard time not reading them had I been in his shoes.

As Lincoln continues to read the women's emails, we get to know what Lincoln's home and social life are like. Oh, boy is this guy stuck in a never ending cycle of D & D and mama's home cooking. Lincoln wants to escape, you can feel it, but he doesn't know how and needs that push to make him take the jump. Lincoln is an intelligent man but unsure of how to use that intelligence. He's been doing the same thing for years and has a difficult time getting out of his comfort zone. Reading the emails puts him out of that zone and into a whole other world of women and relationships. He sees it as if from an observation room but as time passes, he wants to experience it.

The emails between Jennifer and Beth are far longer than any emails I ever sent at work. They know they emails are monitored but don't really care, figuring they're monitored for illegal activity and not women discussing sex, weddings, babies and men. You can tell they have a close relationship based on how personal the emails are. They give advice, comfort, cheer and a good does of reality when it's needed. They were very funny, with both women giving those quick jabs of sarcasm that only good friends know how to give with out truly pissing you off.

There were a few points when the dialogue between Lincoln and his friends and family became repetitive with "he said" and "she said". At those points I was looking forward to getting back to the emails. Lincoln does come off as a bit of a wimp in the beginning and I would have liked to give him a kick in the ass for being so complacent with his life.

It may not feel like a traditional romance novel, and it's not. But there is a romance in there, it's just buried under the need for both parties to come to the point where they're ready for a romance. I do think that if you are hoping for a lot of romance, this isn't it. It's much more about Lincoln discovering what he wants to do with his life and taking the steps to make it happen. Him falling in love with a woman through her emails, which are not even to him, is secondary.

On a personal note: I could relate to so much of what happens in this book. It takes place in 1999/2000 when people were worried about the computers crashing and the end of the world as we know it. (thanks REM) I worked in the IT department at the time and it was very anti-climatic when nothing happened. LOL There's talk about games like D & D (Dungeons & Dragons)which my husband still has his dice and Axis and Allies which we also still have. (We really are geeks!) There's also mention of Pikachu who I just happen to do a very good impression of. :)

Attachments is a humorous look at life with well developed characters and an interesting plot. It's definitely worth the listen or read.

Rating: A-


  1. This sounds like a fun read--or listen as the case may be for you this time. I usually enjoy reading books that are unconventional with their use of emails, letters or the like. I'm going to look for this one at my library. Thanks for the rec!

  2. Christine ~ I think you would like this one whether you listen or read it. Hope your library has it!

  3. LOL, okay, I'm really behind in my commenting. Sorry Leslie!!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Leslie! I thought it was really great and I really enjoyed it! The strength of this book was that it was very realistic and I really could relate with Lincoln. I thought he was also very likable and wish I could meet one like him LOL.

    I was cautious about how the book was written as well, didn't know if the POVs would work. But turns out, it really work for me :)