Skip Nav
Game of Thrones
34 Bombshells in the Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere
Game of Thrones
These Are the Targaryens Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs to Know
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones: Here's the Official Episode Count For Season 7

Buzz Book Club, The Wishbones

Buzz Book Club: The Wishbones, Section Two

Welcome back, Buzz Book Club readers! OK, now I'm getting pretty peeved at the main character in the The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta. Dave is annoying me, but at least things have gotten really interesting and we're not just reading about a bunch of Jersey guys in band rehearsal anymore. Plus, I like Perrotta as a writer. He's got a point of view and his prose is brisk and to the point.

Here's a recap of how the Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in August). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next assignment: Read from the beginning of the chapter titled "This Sad Gift" through the chapter called "War Pigs." We'll chat about this second section next Friday, Aug. 22.

To discuss the second section of The Wishbones, in which we read from "It's Your Wedding" through "Carlos and Stevie Ray,"


  1. This section, and WhiplashGirlchild's comments last week, got me thinking: What kind of person plays in a cover band, as opposed to a band that writes and performs original music? Do these guys fit those stereotypes?
  2. The different lifestyles of Dave and Gretchen came out in this chapter: Though Dave lives within striking distance of New York, it was like he'd never been to Brooklyn before. He's taken the safer, suburban route, romanticizing life in the city but never living it. Do you think Gretchen's lifestyle contributes to his decision to cheat on her?
  3. Along with the above question, this section got me thinking about the choices you make after high school: to stay near home and family and what's familiar, or to strike out on your own. Do you identify with one of those paths more than the other?
  4. I find myself getting angrier and angrier with our protagonist, Dave. What do you think of him? And do your feelings toward the protagonist heavily influence your enjoyment of a book, or not so much?
  5. I'm kind of loving all the references to life in the '90s (having to call people from pay phones, Shawn Colvin on the stereo, etc.). In what ways do you think this story would be different if it were set in present day?
Join The Conversation
adw7984 adw7984 8 years
-Decisions after high seems that everyone takes a different path. I live in a small town and everyone I graduated with couldn't wait to get away from the town, go away to college and leave the state. I love my town, I went to college 15 minutes away, got a job 15 minutes away after college and still live at home in fact. The house I want to buy is only 5 houses away from my mom's house. Everyone is different I guess, but my path is to stay close to my family! -I am angry at Dave that he would stray from Julie. First he accidentally proposes; then he gives her the ring she wants and holds her hand in public; then he goes over to Gretchen's apartment and cheats on Julie...what a jerk! Just because I don't like Dave doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the book. While I did LOVE Little Children, I do find this one a little lacking. Having said that, I don't think it is a bad book...even if I don't like Dave. -When I read the part with the quarters and the payphone I said to myself, "he doesn't have a cell phone?" I guess I better start paying attention to the time period when I read.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
I know what you mean about knocking Perotta — I really liked Little Children a lot — but then again, The Wishbones is his first novel, so maybe he's just gotten a lot better. I didn't care for Joe College that much, though so far it seems to be better than The Wishbones, for sure.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
I agree about the Hornby reference, and also that Rob in "High Fidelity" was more likable than Dave. At least Rob made interesting observations. I also kept thinking that "The Wishbones" should've been written in first person (like "High Fidelity") instead of third person. It felt sort of awkward in third person. And then the narrative would briefly switch to one of the other characters' points of view for a few pages and then come back around to Dave. I found it strange. I feel bad knocking Perrotta after I liked "Little Children" so much.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Haha, cool. I just... I keep picturing something like John Cusack in High Fidelity (and Hornby's stuff is similar in many ways to Perotta's, I think), in that he's this schlubby guy, not all that nice sometimes, obsessed with music, had dreams that he's not realizing, etc. etc. But the character in High Fidelity is at least somewhat likable.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
Oh, I know, Buzz. I was just joking, mostly. :)
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Oh no! I didn't mean that you were being snobby, Whip! I really thought it was a good point, and it got me thinking. I thought it was great. This, too: "I think that the reason Dave is attracted to Gretchen is because she's the type of girl who'd be a good girlfriend for a 'real' musician," is really insightful. I never thought of that, and it's true.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
Ha! Nice reference to my music snobbery! :oops: The more I think about it, the more I can understand certain people wanting to be in a cover band. The type of people who love to play music but who don't have any interest in creating their own. Or those who love the attention - I worked at a radio station about 10 years ago and was forced to attend a lot of promo events that featured local cover bands. And the girls screamed for these dudes like they were freakin' Elvis or something! So, yeah, I can understand the appeal. But Dave is the type of guy who used to be in original bands and who used to write his own music. I can understand him playing in a wedding band to pay the bills (barely), but why wouldn't he want to continue making original music? The fact that he just gave that up is just another thing that makes me lose respect for him. I think that the reason Dave is attracted to Gretchen is because she's the type of girl who'd be a good girlfriend for a "real" musician. She lives in gritty Brooklyn. She's offbeat and sexy but not traditionally beautiful. Perrotta even describes her as "hipster" and "bohemian." I think that she fits his idea of what his girlfriend should be much more than Julie, who is a suburban customer service representative. To answer another question, yes, my dislike of Dave was the main reason I didn't really dig this book. It's not that I need my protagonists to be perfect - on the contrary, a flawed, imperfect main character makes for a way more interesting story. But Dave has hardly any redeeming characteristics. He's selfish, lazy, and boring.
Beach Books and Totes For Women
New Books in July 2017
Obama The Historic Presidency of Barack Obama Book Interview
Best Chick Lit From the 1990s
From Our Partners
Latest Entertainment
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds