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Lincoln is twenty-eight years old and holds a couple of master’s degrees. He didn’t know what else to do with his life, so he continued his education. Now, living back at home with his mother, he has taken a job at The Courier, the local newspaper in the IT department. It is 1999 and the newspaper is slowly creeping — technologically speaking — toward the new millennium. Lincoln works the night shift, attending to computer security. Which means that about all he does is read employees’ emails and issue warnings to employees who violate the company computer/email usage policy.

When the computer system flags emails exchanged by Jennifer, a copy editor, and Beth, the newspaper’s movie reviewer, Lincoln can’t help himself. He is instantly drawn into their conversations . . . and their lives. He can’t bring himself to send them a warning about their sending personal emails through the newspaper’s server. Before long, Lincoln is eagerly looking forward to finding that their correspondence has been flagged so that he can read it.

And then Beth, who is living with the lead guitarist for a local rock group, begins writing to Jennifer about the Cute Guy she saw in the newsroom. Justin is shocked to realize that she is referring to him and intrigued by her, but he is awkward, shy, and unsure of himself. But now he has worked himself into a conundrum from which he does not believe he can extricate himself. The more of the women’s emails he reads, the more enchanted he becomes with Beth, but he realizes that he is violating their privacy and is certain that he will never be able actually meet or interact with Beth.


The word “charming” is overused in the context of describing women’s fiction. But that is precisely the word that accurately describes Attachments, Rainbow Rowell’s debut novel.

Lincoln is a physically large guy who was raised by his single mother. He has never met his father. His only sibling, Eve, is several years older, married with children, and a personal banker. She regularly encourages Lincoln to be independent and make a life for himself apart from their controlling and suffocating mother, urging him to read “What Color is Your Parachute?” during his long nights at work when he has nothing to do. But it’s just too much for Lincoln who has never really gotten over being dumped by his high school girlfriend, Sam, after they went away to college together in California. Lincoln has very little self-esteem, and turns to the spiral notebook in which Sam listed the many “Things Lincoln is Good At” to cheer himself up from time to time. Although he is over-qualified for his job and hating working the night shift, he is unable to motivate himself to look for a more suitable position. Eventually, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Doris, an older widow with whom he shares the massive lunches his mother packs for him each day.

Although Lincoln is hapless and lost, he is also endearing. He is, after all, a twenty-eight-year-old guy who has only had one girlfriend. He is not a partier, although he tries to go out to clubs with his long-time friend Justin. He prefers spending his Saturday nights playing Dungeons and Dragons. But Lincoln has a good heart and strives to do the right thing. So why does he continue reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails?

At the outset, Jennifer is torn about whether to have a child, although her husband, Mitch, is anxious to start a family. Meanwhile, Beth has spent several years living with the uber-cool Chris, but her doubts about the long-term viability of their relationship is revealed through her infatuation with Lincoln, whom she dubs “McG” (My Cute Guy). She has her own issues with self-esteem, as evidenced by her consternation about the bridesmaid dress she is going to be required to wear in her younger sister’s upcoming wedding.

Each of Rowell’s characters is fully fleshed out, believable, and empathetic. The late-twenties angst about whether marriage, children, and career success lie in the future is a them to which readers can readily relate, but Rowell has placed her characters in a specific time period when the world anticipated Y2K and what it would bring. So too Lincoln, Beth, Jennifer, and the remainder of the supporting cast are poised on the cusp of the new century and pondering what changes will take place in their lives.

When New Year’s Eve arrives, it is a giant bore, as many of us distinctly recall. As the New Year dawned around the world, and computer systems were proven secure, we all wondered what the fuss had been all about. And as that milestone comes and goes, the action in Rowell’s story picks up, with Lincoln developing a new sense of self through Beth’s confessions to Jennifer about her attraction to him. He becomes more independent, but still cannot figure out how he is ever going to broach the divide that he has created by continuing to electronically eavesdrop on their private conversations in which they share intimate details about each other’s lives.

Attachments is ultimately a story about a young man’s coming of age, a refreshing change of pace from the normal stories told in women’s fiction. It is a quick read, full of humor and written with obvious compassion for the young adult protagonists. Rowell holds a journalism degree and is a pop-culture/lifestyles columnist with The World-Herald in Omaha, Nebraska. So her depictions of both the newsroom environment and midwestern sensibilities are authentic and realistic.

Attachments is a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read that will leave you feeling good about love, destiny, and the possibilities that materialize when one becomes empowered to move forward toward concrete goals. But it is still advisable that you comply with your company’s email and computer usage policies, because it is highly unlikely that there is a real Lincoln reading your messages who will refrain from sending you that warning.

I look forward to reading more of Rowell’s work.

I read Attachments in conjunction with the 2011 Read ‘n’ Review, Outdo Yourself, and Spring Reading Thing 2011 Challenges.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Attachments free of charge from the author in conjunction with the TLC Book Tours review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Enter to Win a Copy of Attachments

One lucky reader, selected at random, will receive a copy of Attachments, graciously provided by the author.

Mandatory Entry:

Post a comment, being sure to include your email address (for notification and delivery purposes).

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Sorry, but the book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).

The comment posted by Cathy at Lip Gloss and Literature was selected at and a copy of Attachments is en route to Cindy!

Thanks to all who participated!


  1. Stephanie

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  2. Stephanie

    GFC follower

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  4. Cindy Macbeth

    Would love to read this book. Lincoln sounds like a normal guy trying to fit.
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    I’m a GFC follower – Cindy Macbeth
    cindymacbeth at gmail dot com

  5. Rainbow lives in my town and I read her articles in the paper every Sunday. No doubt she is a great writer.

  6. Mona Garg

    What an intriguing and somewhat scary premise. I’m sure many people engage in personal email correspondence at work, never thinking about the fact that their messages are monitored. This book kind of reminds me of a favorite movie, THIEF OF HEARTS.

  7. Candice J

    This has been on my radar for quite a while, can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    candicerjames (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. Michelle C

    This book sounds really interesting, especially since Info. Tech. is my field, too. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

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    Following with Google Friend Connect
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    Subscribed via RSS feed {Google Reader}.
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  12. Juliet Farmer

    Been wanting to read this for a while now!

  13. Krystal Larson

    Thanks for the giveaway, the book sounds really good! I follow as am email subscriber and GFC follower: Krystal Larson. Thank you for this giveaway 🙂

  14. Linda Kish

    This book sounds terrific!

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  15. This books looks great. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  20. Brittany Gale

    Thanks for the giveaway 😀


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