From: Jennifer Scribner-Snyder
To: Beth Fremont
Sent: Wed, 08/18/1999 9:06 AM
Subject: Where are you?
Would it kill you to get here before noon?
Books that play with different styles of writing have always appealed to me. There’s something about the voyeurism of reading a fictional diary or seeing characters develop through correspondence to each other that really appeals to me – probably the fact that it’s the only time nosiness is socially acceptable! Attachments (written in part narrative, part email conversation) was therefore a perfect choice to satisfy my natural curiosity as well as newfound love for the awesomeness that is Rainbow Rowell.
Set in a time when the internet and email were the new technologies on the block, 28 year-old perpetual student Lincoln O’Neill takes an IT security job at a newspaper, a night-shift position which mainly involves monitoring the inter-office emails. When the email conversations between Jennifer and Beth continually fall into Lincoln’s “flagged correspondence” folder, it is their entertaining friendship and witty chatting that prevents him from following protocol and reporting them. Instead he chooses to get to know them, and inadvertently himself, better. As time goes on, an interesting question arises – can you really fall in love with someone before you’ve even met them?
Undoubtedly this book is a slow-burner, with the two stories intertwined in short chapter segments, but it is such a heart-warming, quirky tale of discovering yourself as well as the right person that you can’t help but fall desperately in love with it! Rowell is fast becoming a favourite on my bookshelves, as she is genius in creating stories that are entertaining, completely charming and romantically realistic – easily satisfying both the cynic and romantic in me!
The fragmented style of Attachments means that the pace of the narrative is quite rapid, with chapters ending in mini-cliff hangers as the plot twists to a different focus. In any other author’s hands this could get confused but Rowell expertly weaves the two plots together so it is seamless in delivery and gives just enough in each chapter to keep the story moving.
Rowell’s strength lies definitively within her amazing characters and throughout Attachments I felt very connected to both Beth (for I too am a tall lady with no understanding why all the miniscule girls get the exceptionally tall men!) and Lincoln (who is just a bit lost in the world and in need of both a wake up call and a cuddle!). Each character has a very distinct voice and Rowell’s writing brings each personality off the page but I have to admit I did struggle to create images of the characters and I think that’s due to the narrative styling. Lincoln, in particular, didn’t materialise for a while – mainly because he refuses to be pigeon-holed! It seemed odd to me that a good-looking, John Wayne-esque, tank of a man could ever be thought of as invisible, but maybe that’s just because I think I definitely would have noticed him!
Attachments is an easily read and easily loved novel with characters to root for and to empathise with. Both clever and quirky, Rainbow Rowell has done it again!