Love Will Tear Us Apart by Sarah Rainone (titled after the Joy Division classic) is a funny and bittersweet coming-of-age novel centering on a group of longtime friends reconnecting for the wedding of their friends Dan and Lea in their Rhode Island hometown. Missing from the wedding is the group's friend Jason, whose death is often mentioned by each of the different characters.
Told in the voices of four of Dan and Lea’s friends, the story begins with the arrival of Alex, high on coke, who is also a bridesmaid at the wedding. Despite her best intentions, Alex is late to the wedding. Audiences familiar with My Best Friend's Wedding may guess what will happen next – even though Alex is Dan's best friend, she’s realized that she's in love with him and doesn't want him to marry bridezilla Lea.
The novel flashes back and forth between past and present, providing glimpses into the early lives of each of the main character. Flashbacks are often an unwelcome device in a novel, but in this book, the flashbacks are sometimes more entertaining and interesting than what's happening in the present.
In Nick Hornby-esque fashion, each of the chapter headings is a song title. If you are a fan of ‘80s music, and are hoping for some of the harrowing grace of Joy Division, you should probably look elsewhere. Although the book does a good job of getting into the character's heads and you learn about their personalities through darkly funny flashbacks, you're not going to feel like you're listening to Unknown Pleasures or Closer. But if you're looking for a humorous flashback-to-the-‘80s weekend, this novel is for you.