Saturday, 28 February 2015

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments (2011) (Orion Books)
Rainbow Rowell
Grade: B+
Genre: fiction
Source: own
General RBC 2015: The first book by a favourite author 

The year is 1999 and the Internet is still in its earliest stages. Lincoln has just started a new job at the offices of a local newspaper, enforcing the office’s new IT policy which entails reading emails flagged by the system. He’s quickly drawn into the lives of repeat offenders, Beth and Jennifer who email back and forth about their love lives and family troubles. At first, their emails offer a welcome distraction from the monotony of the night shift but before he knows it, he finds himself falling for one of them and it’s too late to issue a warning without revealing that he’s been reading their emails all along. Does love before first sight exist?

My first Rainbow Rowell novel was Fangirl last summer which I loved without question. It was a brilliantly funny and fresh take on what happens when young adult and fanfiction worlds collide and I’ve been craving more ever since. Attachments was Rainbow Rowell’s first novel and proves that she can write just as well for adults as she’s proved more recently with a spate of young adult novels. It was admittedly difficult to get into at first and I was forever getting Beth and Jennifer mixed up because you never actually meet them outside of their email exchanges, but it obviously wasn’t an insurmountable hurdle.

This is unbelievably cute. There aren’t very many male POVs that I actually like, but Lincoln’s was definitely one of them. Even though Beth and Jennifer are just as important as main characters, this didn’t feel like a book about them. Their lives are lived through their email exchanges and Lincoln’s follow-up observations, making it feel like we’re simply outsiders looking into their lives. This is a late coming-of-age book for Lincoln: this is his first job since taking multiple college courses over the past few years. He’s still living at home (nothing wrong with that!) and trying to manage his relationship with his mother whose instinct is to constantly coddle and ply him with food. It’s wonderful to watch and track Lincoln’s story as he reacts to these exchanges between Beth and Jennifer

Witty, funny and original, Attachments was a wonderful debut from Rainbow Rowell. It seems that though Eleanor and Park was the book that has really launched Rainbow Rowell’s career, her other work is equally brilliant, eye-opening and unputdownable. I’m intrigued by her newest novel Landline, another adult title, as well as Carry On, a Simon Snow story featuring the eponymous fictional character from Fangirl. Her writing is hypnotic and persuasive, making the pages fly by beneath your fingertips so that you reach the end much too soon. I didn’t find a favourite new author in 2014, but if I were to read the rest of her work in 2015, Rainbow Rowell has a pretty damn good chance at gaining that coveted place this year.

Image courtesy of Book Depository.

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