So I think I have actually now read all of Rowell’s books except for her newest, Kindred Spirits. While I have enjoyed her books for the most part, Attachments definitely jumped to the top of her list for me, with Fangirl close behind.
In Attachments, it felt like Rowell really got her setting right. All of her characters were believable with their ages and situations in life, and the setting of just before Y2K was a great way to give the novel a time that was specific and fun without weighing it down with too many references. I adored Lincoln, and really liked the way that Rowell had his character grown and change throughout the story.
If you haven’t read it, Attachments is about Lincoln, who has a job at a newspaper – he’s in charge of reading everyone’s emails. It’s all part of the company’s policy to make sure people are only emailing about appropriate, work-related things. Lincoln is a little uncomfortable with the job, but it is what it is – until he starts reading the email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer. Their emails are definitely “between friends” with all kinds of gossip and stories, and Lincoln should definitely issue a warning to them for “inappropriate” use of company email… except he’s kind of finding himself interested in their lives.
Here’s the thing: this book sounds like Lincoln should be really creepy, but somehow Rowell pulls this off. I never felt uncomfortable with Lincoln or his actions. Instead, he comes through as incredibly likable. I was also concerned about how in the world Rowell was going to make everything come together in the end without being super weird – but she did it. A+ ending.
One of my favorite things about this story was how Rowell never portrayed various hobbies or lifestyle choices as being immature or wrong in and of themselves – it was the motivation behind them that made them so. Throughout the story, Lincoln plays D&D, lives at home with his mom, and doesn’t socialize much. At the end of the book, many of Lincoln’s circumstances are the same – he’s still playing D&D and going to the movies by himself – but it’s obvious that Lincoln has grown as a person and is way, way more comfortable with who he is as a person, instead of feeling stuck there.
The side plots in this book were also really good. Beth’s relationship with her boyfriend and the whole situation with Jennifer and her husband trying to decide if they should start a family – they were things that were handled well, adding a lot of depth to the story. Rowell did a great job giving the right amount of information about the “other” characters – enough to make them feel like more than cutouts, but not so much that it interfered with the main movement of the story.
All in all, I really enjoyed Attachments. 4/5 and recommended.