Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell

I'm not someone who's really big on New Year's resolutions.  They're mostly empty promises that we tell ourselves in an attempt to feel better about the future.  If I'm honest with myself, I did make a resolution of sorts this year, which is to find moments of happiness and think more positively.


Well, two days into 2014 and I'm ready to throw the whole positive thinking goal to the wind.  While reading Attachments I quickly went into my nit-picky mode of negative thinking and couldn't let myself enjoy the unfolding love story, which was a little bit on the side of creepy (but I will get to that in a moment).  I am who I am and I cannot turn off my inner critic. 


Attachments, like Rowell's other books, is a quirky and well-written story.  I've enjoyed reading Rowell's other works because the characters are distinct and she tells their stories with a wonderful sense of lightness and humor.  To some degree, this is true of Attachments as well.  The one reason I will give this book any praise is due to Beth and Jennifer's friendship.  Their e-mail exchanges were hilarious, poignant, and sometimes downright heartbreaking.  I loved their friendship infinitely more than the romance, which was downright strange.


Which brings me to Lincoln O'Neill, the 28 year old IT guy whose job it is to read company e-mails that are flagged as inappropriate and report them to the proper authorities.  While working, Lincoln starts reading e-mails written by Jennifer and Beth that are flagged as inappropriate, but he enjoys reading them and eventually falls in love with Beth.  He can't bring himself to stop snooping and report Jennifer and Beth for breaking company policy.


While I like a good love story, this one didn't work for me.  It isn't cute in a You've Got Mail kind of way.  Lincoln is a reclusive young man who lives with his mother by choice even though he has a self-supporting income, he's so intelligent he has multiple master's degrees, and he spends the majority of his free time with his gamer friends playing "Dungeons and Dragons."  He is a NERD, which in itself isn't bad.  However, he's also completely oblivious to the fact that he is attractive beyond belief and "built," and he basically cyberstalks two women under the pretense that this is a part of his job.


No, just no.


For one thing, Lincoln can't be that oblivious to his own attractiveness.  While I believe it is perfectly realistic for men to be insecure about their appearance, I've never met a man who is hot and didn't know it.  It doesn't make one iota of sense.


What really annoyed me about this book, however, is the overall message of love.  It's the idea that no matter how weird or eccentric someone is, the ONE still exists for them and is waiting to be found.  When love doesn't lead to marriage, then this means the relationship is lesser and something better exists if you're willing to take a chance and seek it out.


Case in point: Beth has been dating her college boyfriend for years and knows he never wants to get married.  When he finally verbalizes this to Beth, he automatically becomes a douchebag asshole.  How dare he love her for who she is, but not want to marry her????  While the boyfriend's explanation and timing was less than tactful, I actually felt bad for the guy.  He was probably the most honest character in the book, but is portrayed as a selfish jerk because he doesn't want marriage or a traditional relationship. 


My rant may seem like I am against marriage, but this isn't the case at all.  I believe in marriage and want that for myself one day, but I am also okay with being single and don't believe for one second that my happiness is contingent on marriage.  I would rather be in a relationship with someone who knows who he is but can sometimes be a jerk (you know, a real person) than someone like Lincoln, a creepy stalker nerd with an unhealthy attachment to his mother who is insecure about everything and knows nothing about who he is or what he wants to do with his life.


Attachments is a solid and entertaining novel, but I clearly didn't fall in love with Lincoln like so many other readers.