Thursday, December 12, 2013

Attachments revisited

I would like the preface this review by saying that I'm currently fighting a cold. At least the start of a cold. Anyway I was up a good portion of the night with a sore throat that kept waking me up and this was after not getting a great night's sleep the night before so I'm at that fun point where lack of sleep turns into delirium. But since I'm writing a second review of a book I already reviewed on here awhile ago, I figured that's fine.

After finishing The Hours I needed something else to read but wasn't on the mood for anything on my TBR pile. I turned to a standby: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I have it on my Kindle so it's one of those books I tend to re-read bits and pieces of cos I often have a copy with me*. I hadn't so much be slowly re-reading this story as I was reading bits and pieces of it here and there. Jennifer and Beth's email exchanges are the best and you don't need a lot of context to enjoy them. But this time I decided I would actually re-read the whole thing. Hey, did you know the ENTIRE story is amazing and not just the email exchanges?

I knew the whole story was great. But I knew it on the logical level. But whenever I would think back on the book it was the email exchanges I would remember the best with the rest of the story fading a bit. Which was stupid on me because I love all parts of this book. I love Lincoln's story, which before I liked but whenever there would be a Lincoln chapter all I could think was this meant I wouldn't be getting a Beth/Jennifer chapter. This time I knew the stories, I knew their email exchanges so I could focus on Lincoln and the larger story at hand. And it is so good. I forgot just how good it is and how much I love it and how this is a romantic comedy and even though I'm not usually crazy about those I LOVE THIS ONE. I think I figured out why this time around. The characters never do something incredibly stupid for the sake of moving the plot along.

*some spoilers but you probably should have read this book already. You're lucky I'm even bothering with this spoiler message*
Mindy Kaling talks about romantic comedy logic and essentially how there isn't any but you sort of just have to go with it. But where she loves it ("I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human word.)** I hate just going with it. One of the biggest things I hate is when there's a love triangle and one of the guys is CLEARLY AN ASSHOLE and the hero is who the girl should end up with but there's all this fake tension about who she'll choose. Except no, there is no tension, the choice is obvious.

Attachments has a love triangle and it almost fits into this basic structure. Lincoln is the main character so we're on his side. Beth's boyfriend seems like kind of a douche and Lincoln seems like he would make a great boyfriend so OBVIOUSLY they should be together. Except we see moments where Beth's boyfriend isn't a raging douche. And we understand why Beth is with him and why he's with Beth. And also we have no idea what the chemistry would be between Beth and Lincoln because they don't talk to one another until the very end of the book. I mean we KNOW they're going to be awesome together, and we want them to get together, but I didn't spend the whole time rolling my eyes going "No, you know what lady? Just stay with your obviously terrible boyfriend who even you can't come up with redeeming qualities for." Instead I spent my time going "YES, THIS IS GREAT! HOW DID I FORGET HOW GREAT THIS IS?"
*spoilers contained. But you should probably just read the book. and hang your head in shame for not having read it yet.*

This is the joy of re-reading. I can go back and focus on new parts of the story that I skipped the first time around. Of course I still LOOOOOOVED the email exchanges because while I have come to appreciate the awesomeness of the whole book, these are still the best and if Rowell felt like writing an entire book about just these two, I would be for it. 

One thing Rowell hasn't made any easier is helping me decide which of her books I like best. Everything I think "Attachments is my favorite" I remember something awesome that happens in Eleanor & Park and Fangirl and I continue to go round and round in circles. So to be safe you should probably just read them all. Clearly.

*Moranthology by Caitlin Moran is another good "pick up whenever" book.
**I realize I've included a quote from a book I haven't even reviewed yet but 1) Kaling's book is awesome and 2) it works so well right here.

Rowell, Rainbow. Attachments. Plume, 2011. Kindle edition