Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: Attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Hardcover, 320pp
ISBN-13: 9780525951988

(Received for review from Dutton - Penguin Group)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Rainbow Rowell on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from Attachments

Synopsis (Book Jacket):


Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, coworkers at The Courier, know the newspaper monitors their office e-mail. But they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers, 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.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill still can't believe that it's his job to monitor other people's e-mail. When he applied to be an internet security officer, he pictured himself protecting the newspaper from dangerous hackers - not sending out memos every time somebody in Accounting forwarded an off-color joke to the person in the next cubicle.

Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help being 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"?

With snapping dialogue and irresistible charm, Rainbow Rowell transforms an ordinary IT guy into a lovable and endearing romantic hero and proves that falling in love never happens the way you plan it. Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a fresh and energetic debut that marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction.


Rainbow Rowell's debut novel Attachments takes office romance to a whole new level. Rowell uses her own experience as a lifestyle columnist to bring this novel about coworkers at a local paper to life. The authors snappy wit and laugh-out-loud dialogue gives the reader the behind the scenes scoop as they find out that falling in love doesn't usually happen the same way twice. This is a great novel about workplace dynamics and it asks the question: Is is possible to separate your personal life from your work life?

Lincoln O'Neil has had a rough time of it. He is heartbroken when he finds out his girlfriend has been cheating on him and he is forced to go back home to live with his mother. He forgets about going out and having fun and immerses himself in Dungeons and Dragons and finding a new job. When he takes a job as an internet security officer at The Courier, a local newspaper he believes that things are finally looking up until he figures out that he won't be stopping hackers, he will be monitoring in house e-mails to see who is misusing the company e-mail. Once he begins his new job he begins to see a pattern with two women in the office, Beth and Jennifer, who are constantly sending personal e-mails to each other throughout the day. Instead of warning them about their behavior Lincoln gets a kick out of reading about their every day lives, until he realizes that he is falling in love with Beth, just from reading her words. Is there some way for him to let her know how he is feeling or has he let it go on too long?

This is a great debut effort from Rainbow Rowell. This quirky office romance is something different and refreshing. Set in the 90's before Y2K and a lot of the e-mail advances that have come about in the last twenty-years, Attachments gives the reader a look at how companies monitored their e-mails and kept their employees from abusing the privilege. I thought the author picked a really interesting scenario for her book. Here you have two women who probably know their e-mail is being monitored, but they don't seem to pay any attention to it and an IT guy that is being paid to pay attention but lets these two slide because he gets pleasure from reading about their lives. I can see how this could have come about. The story is believable and it's easy to see that the author has the inside track on what goes on in a local newspaper office. Rowell really pulls it together and gives the reader a heart-felt account of falling in love in the oddest of ways.

I liked the way that Rowell introduced the reader to the characters. With Beth and Jennifer the reader learns about who they are and what's going on in their lives primarily through their e-mails to each other, which in most cases are short and sketchy like most e-mails still are today. Beth is a great character and it's easy to see from her e-mails how Lincoln becomes enamored with her. She is a great gal who is unlucky in love, much like he is. As far as character development goes, I thought the e-mail approach was genius. Very different and affective.

As a character though, Lincoln really steals the show. He is a very lovable and genuinely nice guy, who has found himself in a bit of rut. He isn't going out, he is living with his mother, he just needs a new lease on life and this job is supposed to do that for him. It was great to see how Lincoln basically re-invented himself and got back on track. I thought he grew a lot as a character throughout the book. He is a very unconventional hero and I think the reader will really identify with him. His family also provides a lot of comic relief in the book, from his controlling mother, to his sister who just wants to see him start living again. It was easy to root for Lincoln and hope that figured out a way to let Beth get to know him for a wonderful guy he was.

I've read a lot of books about office romances, but this one was different. It had a different slant and I liked the direction that the author went with it. I would recommend this to my romance readers, especially those who like contemporary romance. Many people today work in the kinds of settings portrayed in this book and I think a lot of readers will find at least one character in the book that they really identify with. I thought the author did a great job with her debut novel and look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Attachments is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Rainbow Rowell is a pop-culture and lifestyles columnist for the Omaha World-Herald. She lives in Nebraska with her family.

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