Friday, May 6, 2011

Attachments / by Rainbow Rowell

In the early days of the internet, Beth and Jennifer are two co-workers who've just discovered the joys of e-mailing. Even though they've been warned that the company they work for monitors their computer activity, including email communications, the two fun-loving newspaper employees spend all day sending each other nonsense messages, gossiping about their coworkers and arguing about who has the lamest personal life. Lincoln, the network administrator for the company, and defacto internet security officer, can't help but be amused by this correspondence which he's supposed to be perusing for red flag material. Sort of an electronic Peeping Tom, he finds himself becoming engrossed in the pair's perky but harmless back-and-forths, especially when he starts finding himself the subject of their messages. But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, who he's seen a handful of times in passing, it's a bit late for honest encounters.

Attachments is an OK book, basically one that plays the cuteness factor all the way to the bank. The humor, or what the characters think is humor, gets sort of old after the first few chapters and some readers may grow impatient with both protagonists. There's also some unlikely coincidences which attempt to forward the plot but really just delay the inevitable. Very, very imitative of the You've Got Mail movie from that era (circa 1998), knowledgeable readers will be pretty much up to speed on what the end will look like well before the last third of the story. Rowell, a lifestyle columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, writes credible dialogue and description but her characters just aren't very believable and circumstances seem too fixed and manipulated for the story to be taken seriously. The book will find an audience with readers wanting another office-style/workplace comedy. (FIC ROWELL)

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