Saturday, February 6, 2010

Love Will Tear us Apart

I was at a local bookstore with some friends, just killing some time while they looked around. I had no intention of getting a book, but I couldn't resist the title. I picked it up to check if the title was a reference to the song, and checking the back cover, I gathered that it was. The summary sounded good, so I found myself reading the first few pages. By the time my friends were ready to go, I was hooked. The power of a catchy title.

Any time I read an author's first book, I'm always pulling for it. Rainone clearly has writing chops, but I just didn't feel this one. I had a hard time relating to the characters. A group of twenty-something friends have drifted apart, but now they're coming together for the wedding of perfect couple, Dan and Lea. These two aren't developed much, they're really just there to build the other characters around. The problem is, I found those other characters uninteresting. You have Cort, the hippie chic; Alex, coked out fashionista; Shaun, not-quite-out-of-the-closet gay guy; and Ben, the boorish jock. Author Sarah Rainone does her best to push these characters past stereotypes, but I don't think she succeeds. I hate to admit this, but there might be a generational gap here. Rainone wants us to sympathize with these characters as they transition into an uncertain adulthood, but quite frankly, they all seemed like whiners to me. Rainone does a good job of showing the struggles young people go through, I just didn't like how her characters handled them. Of course, if I thought these characters were intentionally unlikable, that would be one thing, but I don't think that was Rainone's intent at all. She wants us to like these people. I tried, I really did, I just couldn't get there.

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