Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rainbow Rowell - Attachments

It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.
At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

Comment: I got interested in this book because I tend to like epistolary novels or books where characters communicate through letters, emails, different means rather than only normal conversation. I had hopes for this book.

In this story we meet Beth and Jennifer, two friends who work at the same newspaper in 1999 and we get to know them through their email conversations. The problem is they use the newspaper internal email to do so, which means their conversations can be seen by the IT personnel.
That person happens to be Lincoln, a young man who's very shy and reserved and whose job is to monitor all emails and to warn people when they are crossing the line. But he feels invested in Beth and Jennifer and even laughs at some of her comments. With time, he realizes he is developing feelings for Beth although he doesn't know her.
The situation gets to a point where Lincoln feels very bad for reading their personal conversations but he thinks they wouldn't accept his invasion of their privacy, even when they are the ones who use the wrong email account for that. Will Lincoln ever come clean to Beth?

After reading this book, I think my consideration for the author has increased. I had only read another book by her and it was a bit too analytical to be as engaging as I imagined. This one is also analytical but the story just captivated me more, I guess. Plus, the narrative is also more interesting and the characters as well.

This story appeals to all of those people who are shy and prefer to talk via email, not having to look directly at someone. Although Lincoln isn't an active part of the conversation, he feels affected by what he reads and he takes steps to change his life because of this as well.
This is one of the things that stayed with me the most after reading this book. I like the funny ideas and comments Beth and Jennifer were exchanging, I felt invested in their choices and experiences and how that got to let me know them as characters, but the real focus here, in my opinion, is Lincoln.

I really think the best part of this book is Lincoln's character. Yes, we get to know Beth and Jennifer and it's very enriching to understand their personalities and dramas through the email exchange but Lincoln is a well developed character to me.
Lincoln is shy and reserved like I said but he isn't scared of going out and doing what he wants. But in terms of personality, I really felt drawn to him. The way he approached life can be seen as too easy and too uncaring by some but I really felt his need to be quiet, to not cause too many waves, to simply life his life as calmly as he could. He also had a bad break up and that affected how he saw others, especially women. I don't think it's easy for most people to accept the idea there are men like this; we assume all men are always confident and truly independent....but I liked Lincoln because he wasn't the common male characters we see in romance, he is a bit more realistic in a way and I really think it was great to have his character the way we did.

This book does feel pretty light and an easy read, but the author was truly clever when she inserted interesting drama and emotional depths to her characters in an almost deceivingly manner. Lincoln isn't just another guy, we get his thoughts for most of the novel and I confess I liked "knowing" him. He lives with his mother for convenient reasons and that causes a certain unbalance in his life and even in his relationship with his sister...but we also get a glimpse of his mother's thoughts at some point, for instance, and aren't they understandable and valid as well? I really liked finding these apparently hidden layers that bring some depth to the whole story.

I can agree when readers say the romance was weak, because the focus wasn't on that exactly. The end was quite obvious but too fast. A few more pages letting us assimilate the passage of time so their relationship could have the sense of being stronger wouldn't have been better, in my opinion. It's good to have out own thoughts about the whole thing but more certainty wouldn't have ruined this book.

All in all, I liked this book, I had a good time reading - even if some parts were sad or almost unbearably realistic for a book labeled fun by some people - and now my faith in the author is restored, I'll look at her work with different eyes for sure.
Grade: 8/10

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