Not a Review: Attachments, Rainbow Rowell

Y’all, look, I like to suspend disbelief as much as the next girl and probably more than some. I’m willing to roll with an awful lot of fictional punches, and the reason for this is that I know that if you don’t accept the premise of a book, you are refusing to engage with it on the most basic level. There is then no point in reading it, and if you insist on reading it (maybe because, as in this case, you hope that the book will somehow make its nonsense premise work), there is subsequently no point talking about it. That makes you the person who reads Harry Potter and is like, “Um, magic wands? Are stupid.”

So here is why, in spite of its charming qualities, I am not reviewing Attachments: If I worked at a company that monitored my email, and if in spite of that fact I persisted in sending very very personal emails to my coworker/best friend all the time because I guess I didn’t want to send those emails on AOL or whatever people were using in 1999, and if then the person that monitored company email turned out to be reading my emails all along and developing a crush on me on that basis, the only single response that I could possibly have to that would be, “Ew, never contact me.” That is an irredeemably creepy thing to do, and having the guy feel guilty and worry that it might be creepy does not make it uncreepy, and having the girl whose email is being read develop an in-person crush on the guy who’s reading her email to the point that she follows him home one time also does not make it uncreepy.

Because nothing in the world could make that uncreepy. Because it is really creepy.

However, the people have been saying that Rainbow Rowell’s new book, Eleanor and Park, is delightful in all the ways that a book can be delightful, and I am posting this post to let you know that apart from the irredeemable creepiness of Attachments’ premise, which kept me from engaging with it in any meaningful way because of what I will from now on call premise denial, I could definitely see the potential for delightfulness and emotional truth in Rainbow Rowell’s writings. So I will still read Eleanor and Park when it comes out here, and maybe you should too.

[Programming note: When I say “all the people” have been saying that Eleanor and Park is good, I mean Linda Holmes from Monkeysee and Alice from Reading Rambo. But whatever, those are two high-quality people whose opinions have weight with me.]

Your takeaway from this non-review post: I made up the term “premise denial,” and you should all use it.

24 thoughts on “Not a Review: Attachments, Rainbow Rowell

      • It was from Walker, and when I wave it, there’s a white light until I wave it again. (Sometimes I say “lumos” but that’s not really necessary.) You know, my two asked for wands the Christmas before last–Eleanor asked for the Elder wand and Walker (naturally) Malfoy’s wand. But since Santa brought them, they decided that Santa is the true master of the Elder wand.

  1. Alas! Maybe E&P’ll do it. I get that some people are creeped out by the email thing — I kind of just focused on the dialogue and the love story part. Because SO CUTE.

    • Agreed, there were cute aspects. I think there was this other issue with it that I didn’t find Lincoln particularly appealing? Whereas I think that Eleanor and Park will both be pleasing to me.

  2. Premise denial? I do the same thing! Especially if I like the characters, sometimes I just pretend it’s about something else. Which is probably a terrible thing to do as the writer obviously put a lot of time and effort into the book. But, hey, at least I’m enjoying it in some way, even if I do have to ignore significant things. Like, you know, the whole plot.

    • Hahahahahaha, I’m charmed that you pretend books are about other things than what they’re about. That doesn’t cause problems for you as you progress further in the book?

      (I actually just scheduled a review for later this month where I said that the author had chosen the wrong story to tell in her book and should have told a different story about a secondary character and then she would have had a better book.)

  3. Ooh, I love the term premise denial! I don’t experience it too often since, like you said, what’s the point in reading somethiing if you’re not willing to engage with it, but I’m sure it’s happened to me in the past and will happen to me again. And when it does, I’ll be ready.

    Also: I wish more people were called Rainbow. That right there is a seriously awesome name.

    Another also: wands! I still rather want a wand, even though I’ve spent much of the last year getting rid of all my fandommy collectible stuff, and what is a wand if not a fandommy collectible thing? When I was in Minnesota last month, I came mighty close to buying the Elder Wand from a Barnes & Noble. I figured I could tell people my having it was proof I was the most powerful wizard of the twenty-first century. Then I remembered that’s what got all the Elder Wand’s previous handlers (except for Dumbledore) killed, and I decided I wasn’t the right bearer for it.

    Or I balked at the $30 price tag. One or the other.

    • Mmmmmmmmmmm (she said in a very high voice). Do we need more people named Rainbow? I think it is only good if there’s just a real small number of them.

      Were they only thirty dollars? I feel like they were a million billion dollars (well, like a hundred), but that may have been a function of my being much poorer at that time than I am now.

      • But Rainbow is such a pretty name! I also think more people should be named Moonbeam. It’s probably best I don’t have a kid.

        I think the ones at the Harry Potter exhibition were $50-60. The one I saw at B&N was a plastic thingy with a light-up tip and no special collector’s box to its name.

  4. LOL!! I liked this one but I totally get what you mean. I would be absolutely creeped out by this situation (not that I would ever put myself in this situation, but whatever) and not at all attracted to the guy. BUT I did roll with the premise so I ended up enjoying the book.

  5. Premise denial: crisp and to-the-point. Usually it means that I do not finish the book, though. In this case I am sure I could have rolled with it: I did a long apprenticeship with Georgette Heyer and Gothic novelists.

    Also, this author’s name reminded me of that pregnant teacher your sister had whose 3-year-old son wanted to name the baby “Rainbow Sparkle.” (Because it was a girl!)

    • Oh Mumsy I just am not sure. I think you would have had the same problem I had, that you would not have found the guy interesting. So even if you could have gotten past the premise thing, probably still would not do you any good.

  6. Really? A magic wand? I covet lots of geeky things (Hello, my sonic screwdriver given to me by my FAVORITE SISTER EVER) but I never have even a little bit wanted a wand.

    • Look, I understand what you’re saying. I had never ever coveted a wand. I actually picked up the wand so that I could be like, “Memory, who would ever seriously want a wand? Who even would want such a thing?” But once I picked it up I was like OMG I AM GOING TO HOGWARTS RIGHT NOW. Totally weird experience.

  7. I think you need to expand on this premise denial bizness. Because there are also those small moments in books where you go (okay, I go), “OMG, no, that cannot happen, real people just do not do that” and those moments when you realize that the author’s name is something like, ohhh, let’s say Rainbow and you go “Seriously??” And then there’s the whole ending denial thing.

    So yes. Brilliant term…you should keep going with them.

    • Aw, poor Rainbow Rowell! She can have whatever name she wants! But I agree with you about the “OMG NO” thing, which happens to me frequently. I ordinarily am not great at making up names of things, which is why I’m pretty excited about this premise denial business.

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