Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 2011
Length: 336 pages
Rainbow Rowell’s debut novel centers around a twenty-something college graduate named Lincoln who isn’t sure where his life is going. Living at home with his mother, Lincoln takes a job at a local paper working in IT security simply because the money is good. Working second shift and having to screen the company’s emails for inappropriate correspondences, Lincoln soon learns to hate his job. Working second shift and being a more shy person by nature, Lincoln’s job doesn’t give him much of an opportunity to meet new people or hang out with his friends outside of weekend nights. With a limited amount of work to do outside of screening the company’s emails for inappropriate use, Lincoln feels his work is too voyeuristic. Even when Lincoln makes friends at work with a woman who maintains the vending machines and some of the copy editors who work nights, Lincoln still feels that his life is stagnant.
What he doesn’t expect out of his job is to fall in love. One of the paper’s movie reviewers Beth and her best friend Jennifer, who is an editor at the paper, are constantly showing up the company’s flagged email folder. While Lincoln should be sending them warning emails for inappropriate use of company email, he can’t bring himself to do it. He is captivated by their conversations and finds himself falling in love with Beth, even after learning that she has a boyfriend. As Lincoln continues to work (and not warn Beth and Jennifer), he feels increasingly guilty about his violation of Beth and Jennifer’s privacy. He knows he should stop and continues to tell himself he will, but he can’t help himself. He feels almost as if he is friends with the women and cares about them deeply, despite knowing they would likely think he is a creep for constantly reading their personal emails. Lincoln wants to come clean to Beth and Jennifer, but doesn’t want to lose the connection he has to them.
Attachments focuses on the relationships we have and the value we place on those relationships. How we act when we’re excited at the prospect of a new relationship, the adoring way we look at our new (or potential) significant other, and the excuses we’ll make for a partner when they aren’t living up to our expectations (or anyone else’s). Lincoln shows how it’s possible to fall in love through getting to know a person for who they are before ever knowing what they look like.
Attachments reminds us of the importance of being honest and learning to accept people for who they are, instead of the idealized persona we create for them.
Rainbow Rowell has three other published novels. Landline is an adult novel, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl are both Young Adult titles.