Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Humour

Goodreads rating: 3.95 out of 5.00 (9, 800+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

Review by Chantelle

My mind has trouble comprehending how much I love this book. I think it was love at first sight.
I saw the name Rainbow Rowell,
I read the first chapter,
and then I fell hard.

Attachments is a third person narrative set in 1999 during the Y2K scare. It focuses on Lincoln O'Neill, a guy who lives with his mum, doesn't really have a plan in life and who applies to work at a company monitoring emails, which barely passes as an occupation. Through this, he comes across the emails of Beth and Jennifer, two hilariously witty and at times inappropriate woman who work there, whose conversations are subsequently frequently flagged. And instead of reporting them, he can't help but become addicted to their stories and captivated by these faceless personalities.

Personally, I don't blame him. After reading the first chapter, which is the first time he reads their flagged email thread, the only thing stopping me from hunting down Beth and Jen myself and slapping them both with friendship bracelets was that they're unfortunately works of fiction. However, Rainbow Rowell is in fact a person who I can fan-girl over if I ever visit America (just a heads up). These emails were hilarious, and to me, they were a celebration of women's fiction. Rowell captured the female bond perfectly, Beth and Jen are "girlfriends" in the most likeable and entertaining sense. For example, this infamous first chapter is about pregnancy paranoia, poking fun at menstrual cycles and such.

<<Jennifer to Beth>> I think I’m pregnant.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> What? Why do you think you’re pregnant?
<<Jennifer to Beth>> I had three drinks last Saturday.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> I think we need to have a little talk about the birds and the bees. That’s not exactly how it happens.
<<Jennifer to Beth>> Whenever I have too much to drink, I start to feel pregnant. I think it’s because I never drink, and it would just figure that the one time I decide to loosen up, I get pregnant. Three hours of weakness, and now I’m going to spend the rest of my life wrestling with the special needs of a fetal alcoholic.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> I don’t think they call them that.
<<Jennifer to Beth>> Its little eyes will be too far apart, and everyone will look at me in the grocery store and whisper, “Look at that horrible lush. She couldn’t part with her Zima for nine months. It’s tragic.”
<<Beth to Jennifer>> You drink Zima?
<<Jennifer to Beth>> It’s really quite refreshing.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> You’re not pregnant.
<<Jennifer to Beth>> I am.
Normally, two days before my period, my face is broken out, and I get pre-cramps cramping. But my skin is as clear as a baby’s bottom. And instead of cramps, I feel this strangeness in my womb region. Almost a presence.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> I dare you to call Ask-A-Nurse and tell them that you’ve got a presence in your womb region.
<<Jennifer to Beth>> Given: This is not my first pregnancy scare. I will acknowledge that thinking I’m pregnant is practically a part of my monthly premenstrual regimen. But I’m telling you, this is different. I feel different. It’s like my body is telling me, “It has Begun.”
I can’t stop worrying about what happens next. First I get sick. And then I get fat. And then I die of an aneurysm in the delivery room.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> OR …and then you give birth to a beautiful child. (See how you’ve tricked me into playing along with your pregnancy fiction?)
<<Jennifer to Beth>> OR …and then I give birth to a beautiful child, whom I never see because he spends all his waking hours at the day-care center with some minimum-wage slave he thinks is his mother. Mitch and I try to eat dinner together after the baby’s in bed, but we’re both so tired all the time. I start to doze off while he tells me about his day; he’s relieved because he wasn’t up to talking anyway. He eats his sloppy joe in silence and thinks about the shapely new consumer-science teacher at the high school. She wears black pumps and nude panty hose and rayon skirts that shimmy up her thighs whenever she sits down.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> What does Mitch think? (About the Presence in your womb. Not the new consumer-science teacher.)
<<Jennifer to Beth>> He thinks I should take a pregnancy test.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> Good man. Perhaps a common-sensical kind of guy like Mitch would have been better off with that home ec teacher. (She’d never make sloppy joes for dinner.) But I guess he’s stuck with you, especially now that there’s a special-needs child on the way.

See what I mean! Their banter is so addictive, I couldn't find a good place to cut off the conversation because I kept wanting to share more and now I'll probably get sued for copyright. Anyway, the emails are bold, and reflect the wittiness that we all think we have online since we can type and delete and ponder, and yet also the carefree spontaneity of speech when it's with a close friend, where you can just write whatever pops into your mind, which introduces a unique type of intimacy. It was really interesting how Lincoln got to "know" Beth and Jen through their emails, and yet he only saw the emails that got flagged, giving Lincoln a slightly biased insight into their lives. So needless to say, when he starts trying to catch glimpses of Beth in the office, he doesn't really know what to expect. Rainbow Rowell has this almost surreal ability to create these genuine, endearing, relatable and lovable characters who are also flawed and completely unique. I like to call her, female John Green.

The romance itself, however voyeuristic, between Lincoln and Beth had me screaming ADORBS. It is my favourite contemporary adult romance novel that I've read because besides the overwhelming cuteness of it, it has relevant themes. The guilt of eavesdropping or yearning after a person you shouldn't is universal, and Rainbow Rowell executes this story flawlessly. It also focuses on (in particular) Lincoln's personal journey, and the progress he makes in finding himself and getting his life together. In true Rainbow Rowell style, the characters follow a very realistic progression of emotions throughout this oddly perfect plot. It isn't just, hello my life goal is solely to find and boink a hot chick (sorry, that was a bit crass) or hi, I'll forgive you for everything because you're hot.

Attachments: Plot, check. Personal discovery, check. Romance, check. Morals, check. Wit, humour, insight, check check check. I could not stop reading! I was shipping Lincoln and Beth so desperately that I experienced an unprecedented euphoria whenever they even nearly met.

This is definitely a favourite for me, it's one that I'll be rereading over and over again... say next month? since go figure, we're hosting a READ-A-THON FOR ATTACHMENTS!!! (link in the sidebar) Let's be honest, anything by Rainbow Rowell is worth the read so please if you're interested, join in for a first-read or a reread.

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. I haven't read this one yet, but I am so looking forward to it after your wonderful review! :D

    1. Aw thanks, hope you do get around to it! TBR lists are just way too long- so many books, so little time

  2. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME? I now need to go to the bookstore ASAP and buy it ASAP and read it ASAP! that little part was just WOW and now i'm dying to continue reading and thinking "WHY did she cut it off here!" LOL. That is one heck of an awesome review Chantelle!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. hahahha that's just where chapter 1 ended. Thank you so much, I'm SO happy that you liked it! Feel free to join in our discussions next month as well, if you ever need to rant I AM HERE FOR YOU! :)

  3. Sounds great! I've been wanting to pick this one up. Great review! :)

  4. Sounds freaking amazing Chantelle, as usual for Rainbow Rowell. I love the witty banter between them!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Thanks Jeann : ) Definitely harbouring a girl-crush for Rainbow Rowell haha her books are just so consistently unique and wonderful!

  5. Oh god, I LOVE that excerpt! I enjoyed Fangirl a lot, but you've just completely sold me on this book now. I can't wait to pick it up. I can already tell I'll have a lot of fun reading it. :D Thanks for the great review!

    1. Aw thanks Sam, it was one of the funniest, most enjoyable first chapters I've read in a long time so glad you loved it too! Fangirl was AMAZING!! Although it definitely look me a while to warm up to Levi

  6. Every time I read a review for a Rainbow Rowell book, all I see are people raving about how awesome they are! And I feel such shame for not having read even one yet! I'll get to it. I promise. I'm starting to see that they're all pretty well liked and I start with any of them...

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. hahahah go go go! I understand though, it took me ages to pick up Eleanor & Park, just because the blurbs do sound quite odd and not like stuff I'd usually read but yeah, definitely go for them because they're spectacularly well-written. Now I'm anxious because there's so much hype haha don't want you to be disappointed

  7. I have heard so many wonderful things about Rainbow Rowel's YA books, I am glad to hear that Attachments is just as amazing! I picked this book up for less than $2 a few weeks ago. I am excited to dig in.

    1. WOW!!!! that is an amazing deal, go you!! You should join our read-a-thon :) JOIN JOIN JOIN :)

  8. I haven't read anything by Rainbow Rowell. Now I have this curious urge to read EVERYTHING by her. I really want to read Fangirl...but I could totally do this one (and I'm a YA reader, not really adult). That banter was just hilarious! "special-needs-baby". Talk about addictive. It left me sayin, "Um? More please?" ;) Great review!

    1. mwahahaa so happy about this curious urge ;) Fangirl and Attachments are very different, but both are amazing so you're safe with either choice! Would love to hear your thoughts after you get around to reading them :)