book reviews

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Rating: 9.5/10

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit biased when I say that Attachments is an excellent novel. After reading both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell has become one of my favorite contemporary authors. Rowell has this gift for creating very engaging characters. The type of characters that you expect to see in everyday situations. Their lives, though fraught with familiar problems, are given such depth that they’re seen as unique to each of the characters.

The story takes place in at a local newspaper office in Iowa. Lincoln O’Neill is a very recent hire to the office and has been charged with monitoring employee emails to check for any forms of indecency. He gets really entertained by the discussions between fellow co-workers, Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, and neglects sending a warning because of this. The more he reads into their lives, the more engaged he becomes with them. He gets particularly interested in Beth and finds himself slowly falling in love with her. He wants to introduce himself to her but where would he start?

Attachments, though most specifically referring to email attachments, has many meanings within this book. Every character is attached to a certain idea or something/someone of personal significance. Lincoln, though he doesn’t like his job, is very slow to do anything about it especially when he finds himself thoroughly in Beth and Jennifer’s lives. A part of him is also attached to the feelings he had for his old high school girlfriend, Sam, and every time he seeks change he goes back to the list she made of things he is good at. Beth, on the other hand, wants to marry her college boyfriend, Chris, who is slow to propose and seems more attached to his music. Jennifer doesn’t want to get pregnant but begins to rethink this mindset when she worries that it is jeopardizing her marriage.Even minor characters have major attachments. Lincoln’s friend, Justin, clings to his bachelor lifestyle whilst Lincoln’s mom wants to take care of Lincoln like he is still a child.

The book comments on how the major attachments in life are the relationships we share with other people. It shows they can be our anchor, our motivation, or the thing that ultimately set us back. The main characters are in their late 20’s – the time when most are expected to settle down, have kids, and have most of the adult things in life figured out. Others seem to figure it out sooner whilst others feel like they have lost their way or some great opportunity has been missed. There is comfort found in what we know but this book shows that sometimes comfort isn’t where we want to be. Sometimes we have to seek change and this may include severing old ties to build new ones.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s funny, quirky, and just an overall good read. I would especially recommend it if you’re some twenty something going through some quarter life crisis. I know it has done me some good.

With that said, this book doesn’t really have any big dramatic moments or revelations. It’s a very simple and straightforward read. If you want something with plot twists and heart-stopping action, you might want to look somewhere else.

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