Lincoln stayed in college after his girlfriend, Sam, the absolute love of his life, broke up with him in freshman year. He stayed and stayed for nine years, earning one degree after another. Now he’s back home and has taken a job working nights at a large newspaper office. He works in IT reading interoffice emails that the newspaper’s security program has flagged, and he feels terribly apologetic about it. What sort of job is this, spying on your co-workers and then telling on them?
There are certain emails that Lincoln doesn’t take action on, though. Best friends Jennifer and Beth are funny and sweet, and even though they talk about every personal detail of their lives and set off the red flags almost every night, Lincoln guiltily enjoys their friendly banter and the care that they have for one another. Jennifer is married, and although her husband is eager to become a father, Jennifer is not at all ready to be a mother. Every month is an emergency for her, and Beth is there to joke and comfort her through to the day of “Oh, good. False alarm.” Beth is single, but has been living with her rock-star boyfriend for years. She’s crazy about him, but being the maid of honor in her sister’s wedding is sending her around the bend. Will she ever be the bride? Maybe not, since she has a huge crush on the cute new guy at work. After a while, Lincoln realizes that Cute Guy is him.
Although Lincoln is the greatest underdog hero ever written, he is not a loser. Yes, he lives at home with his divorced mom, but why not? She doesn’t charge any rent and the food is great! And he has friends. A bunch of them get together every week to play Dungeons & Dragons. Then there’s Doris, at work. She’s the 60+ lady he shares his mom’s cooking with in the break room every night while she teaches him pinochle. His sister, Eve, is always there to give advice, most of which comes down to: “Get away from Mom.” When his D&D buddy, Justin, becomes a big fan of Beth’s boyfriend’s band, Lincoln’s life gets complicated.
As time goes by, Lincoln finds that he cares very much about Beth, even though they’ve never met. When he sees her for the first time one night in the break room with Doris, he falls head over heels. Then he realizes that it will never work. How could she care for him if she knew that he’d been reading her personal emails for months? Their entire relationship would be built on deceit. He vows to stop reading, but that would be akin to breaking away from his closest friends.
This is the second (of two) Rainbow Rowell book that I’ve read, and I can now be declared a raving fan. Eleanor and Park, a teen novel, was gritty and sad and altogether beautiful. Attachments is one of the sweetest and happiest love stories ever. Rowell also has a sense of humor that keeps it far from saccharine. You will love Lincoln. He’s like a big puppy; you just want to fix everything for him. He deserves so much happiness, and he is kind to all of the ordinary, flawed people in his life. The reader will not only care about the very warm and human main characters in this novel , but he will also recognize all of the well-portrayed secondary characters as people just like his own friends and family.
You want to read this book. You really do.
Now I have an advance copy of Rowell’s next book, Fangirl, which is a YA novel due out in September. I begged for it from my wonderful Children and Teen Services folks at Baker & Taylor, and they sent it to me, along with a tote bag and a yo-yo. They are so hilarious, and they always come through for me. Review to come.
Disclaimer: I read a library copy of Attachments. My opinions are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer or anyone else.