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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Dave

What did you think of Dave and his role in the group? What aspects of modern life does Dave represent and what does he add in terms of a male perspective? I'm particularly interested to hear any thoughts you have about his friendship with Tal.

 

What are Dave's struggles and does he eventually surmount them?

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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Dave

I didn't care for Dave.  He seemed to have very high standards for everyone, but himself.  He seemed to think that success was owed to him for some reason. Maybe it's just that these characters would be the age of my (non-existent) children, but they seem to be very unmotivated and selfish. 

 

Dave seemed very jealous of Tal and Tal's success.  

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Dave

I think Dave is immature and insecure. That doesn't mean I think his behavior is acceptable. He is totally irresponsible. I had the thought that maybe he and Emily would team up. I remember in the scene when Emily leaves with Curtis, Dave is upset and he doesn't really want her to go with him. It is more likely because his world is changing irrevocably as all of his friends pair off to join the "adult world" of their parents, the world they all faced with defiance when they were younger. I have only just reached chapter 12, so maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and see that success favors him and he grows up with it.
twj

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Jon_B
Posts: 1,893
Registered: ‎07-15-2008
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Re: Dave

The section from Dave's point of view was probably the only part of the book that really frustrated me, because so much of Dave's personality is based around music and his opinions on music and his dedication to it - which is something I personally identify with - but I had trouble with it because I couldn't figure out exactly what his opinions on music were or what kind of music it was that he was actually writing.   There were a few references to real bands that were scattered thoughout the book but these didn't really help me put Dave together in my mind.  I know that he was a pianist, that the music he was writing was very generally some sort of rock music with a strong classical piano influence - so I kind of thought of something along the lines of The National but their music is so warm and sentimental I couldn't imagine someone with Dave's rather bristly personality writing anything like that.  
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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Dave

Ok guys out there I'm just going to apologize up front.

 

I saw Dave as a typical young man in his twenties before he relishes the thoughts of marriage and a family as well as other responsibilities that come with adulthood. He's self centered and judgmental of every one but him. I saw a lot of my daughter's male friends in him sort of just floating through life with no aspirations. I don't remember guys being that immature after college when I was young. I don't know if we as parents have given them everything so they don't try to reach for more or what. I liked that he was ready to sacrifice for his dream of music but was frustrated with him for not taking that extra step and pushing to use his own music. It seemed like he still wanted the dream but was only willing to give so much of himself for it.

The jury is still out on his friendship w/Tal, I'm still not sure what I think about that, and that's even after I read the entire book.

And as far as did he surmount his struggles, I think no. 

 

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KxBurns
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Re: Dave


dhaupt wrote:

[edited]

I liked that he was ready to sacrifice for his dream of music but was frustrated with him for not taking that extra step and pushing to use his own music. It seemed like he still wanted the dream but was only willing to give so much of himself for it. 

 


 

This is an interesting point. Do you think his reluctance was due to laziness or self-protection or something else? How would you contrast it with Emily's ambitions and choices regarding her acting career?
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krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Dave


KxBurns wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

[edited]

I liked that he was ready to sacrifice for his dream of music but was frustrated with him for not taking that extra step and pushing to use his own music. It seemed like he still wanted the dream but was only willing to give so much of himself for it. 

 


 

This is an interesting point. Do you think his reluctance was due to laziness or self-protection or something else? How would you contrast it with Emily's ambitions and choices regarding her acting career?

I think Emily's helped by the plot in ways that Dave is not: Emily is forced to take responsibility for herself (after the long period of waiting for the play that never pans out for her) when her parents give up on her sister Clara. While I have some qualms about that storyline (which I'll save for the "Emily" thread), her sister's arrival seems to change Emily's descisions about what's important to her (and thus her acting ambitions). Dave is frustrating because he never seems to do anything. Women (like Meredith) drift in and out of his life. I thought maybe something would happen after we learn that Sadie told Curtis about Dave's songs, but even that doesn't seem to spark Dave into engaging with the world in productive ways. 

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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Dave


KxBurns wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

[edited]

I liked that he was ready to sacrifice for his dream of music but was frustrated with him for not taking that extra step and pushing to use his own music. It seemed like he still wanted the dream but was only willing to give so much of himself for it. 

 


 

This is an interesting point. Do you think his reluctance was due to laziness or self-protection or something else? How would you contrast it with Emily's ambitions and choices regarding her acting career?
I thought it was due to the fact that he didn't have enough faith in himself. I don't think it was due to monetary reasons.
In contrast to Emily, Emily appeared to want to make it no matter what and never gave up until she was sure there was no going forward. I think "her" play pretty much made it clear to her that she needed to go in another direction. What that direction would have been if not for Dr. Gitter I don't know. The author pretty much made it clear to me that it was reactions not actions that molded the lives of her characters. 

 

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Guerneymember12
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-21-2008
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Re: Dave

Dave felt that he was entitled to the best of everything, i.e, women, career, home.  If he didn't get it he was mad at everybody and blamed everybody else, because again, he was entitled to these things.  Finally I think he is beginning to see that the other members of the group are getting the things that they have wanted and that maybe he should be doing something different....Will he?

 

I think he truly loved Tal(as a friend), but was so jealous (Maybe, i did not learn enough about Tal in the book and really could have learned more about Dave) that it was easier to take his anger out on Tal, to deny Tal any help that he might could have given him.  He had to pull himself away from the jealousy and start realizing he did have to work for things and not just expect them to come to him in order to be able to realize what a great friend he had in Tal.  Tal was a lot of things Dave wasn't.  he cared for friend's feelings deeply, maybe much more than his own (best example of this is still to come!).  he worked hard auditioning to do what he wanted to do.  Yes Dave had followed his dreams, but with the "Don't you see how great I am, I shouldn't have to tell you or show you." attitude, which is hilarious to me considering he is a SINGER.Tal would have offered what he had to anyone without reserve.

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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Dave

I think Dave had little faith in himself. He was immature and irresponsible when it came to his career. He never took the extra step to further his career in music. His jealousy of his friends hindered him in growing up and making decisions. Emily and Tal were able to move on so this caused some problems with their freindship. As they entered the adult world Dave was still waiting for some miracle. Dave felt he was owed something so he didn't realize that you have to work for what you want.  I think his parents gave him so much that he was never inspired to get anything for himself. He struggled with his ego and friendships. He demanded so much from them but not from himself. Dave still remained selfish but went on to persue his music career.
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canders
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Registered: ‎11-18-2008
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Re: Dave

I have to confess that I was not terribly impressed with Dave. I took it that he had no interest in growng up and being responsible. It was almost like he took it as a betrayal of sorts that his friends were moving forward, or "growing up".
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Lil_Irish_Lass
Posts: 163
Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Dave

Dave is the model for the "typical" 20-something male. I think by the end he had matured somewhat though he was lagging being the rest of the group. When we find out about Lil's death we also find out that Dave was finally recording a solo album - something he'd talked about since graduation. 

I think the men in this novel get lost. We never hear Tal's story and after Dave's chapter both fade into afterthoughts that read like characters that never fully develop. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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Jennd1
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Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Dave

Dave reminds me of the single college friend who takes longer than everyone else to "grow up" i.e. settle down and grow up.  I didn't mind him as a character, but at the same time I didn't really feel like he contributed as much as some of the other characers who were more together.
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aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
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Re: Dave


Jennd1 wrote:
Dave reminds me of the single college friend who takes longer than everyone else to "grow up" i.e. settle down and grow up.  I didn't mind him as a character, but at the same time I didn't really feel like he contributed as much as some of the other characers who were more together.

 

I agree. I didn't mind Dave. He's just a little slow deciding to get his act together.
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Chatterbox
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
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Re: Dave

To me, a lot of the discussion about "liking" or "disliking" the characters is kind of academic. My interest is whether a character lives for me in three dimensions, not whether I would enjoy hanging out with him or her, or whether I approve of their decisions. Some tremendous literary characters make choices none of us would make in our personal lives, and some really tedious ones are very virtuous. So whether I like or approve or respond to them personally doesn't have much bearing on whether I think they contribute to the story.

 

So, with that said, I will throw out there that I think Dave was one of the most "alive" characters in this book, in the sense that I really felt as if I understood him and knew where he was coming from, how he was reacting to what was going on to him and with the group around him. That doesn't mean that I thought he was mature or a nice guy or anything -- just that he was a character who jumped out at me. In contrast, for instance, to Sadie and Lil, who I found very unconvincing, for different reasons. Perhaps it is because he is at one end of the continuum -- someone who can't seem to find his path out of his 20s and into his 30s, even as, one by one, members of his group succeed in doing so in their individual ways. More than the others, Dave seems to hanker for the golden age of their college days, and thus plays an important contrasting role, IMO.

 

His reaction to Sadie's interference on his behalf is an example of the stubborn and self-defeating kind of pride I have seen in people like him who want to succeed, but only on their own terms -- and who then end up defeated and bitter. (Ironically, I suspect if he had compromised and been an 'easier' character, he would still have ended up bitter because of his decision to compromise!) I know people like Dave; many of the other characters baffled me, perhaps because I'm not seeing deeply enough into them or they aren't convincingly enough portrayed. Dave is the kind of guy who will always cut off his nose to spite his face, and age and experience won't change that. He's the kind of guy who, age 50, will mutter bitterly at the neighborhood bar, "I coulda been a contender."

 

I completely see Jon's point re the music, but I don't feel that stands out, because that is typical of the character portrayals throughout the book. In every case, we feel like we are drowning in introspection but when I step back, I realize that in every case there are important dimensions of the character that are AWOL. 

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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Dave


Chatterbox wrote:

To me, a lot of the discussion about "liking" or "disliking" the characters is kind of academic. My interest is whether a character lives for me in three dimensions, not whether I would enjoy hanging out with him or her, or whether I approve of their decisions. Some tremendous literary characters make choices none of us would make in our personal lives, and some really tedious ones are very virtuous. So whether I like or approve or respond to them personally doesn't have much bearing on whether I think they contribute to the story.

 

So, with that said, I will throw out there that I think Dave was one of the most "alive" characters in this book, in the sense that I really felt as if I understood him and knew where he was coming from, how he was reacting to what was going on to him and with the group around him. That doesn't mean that I thought he was mature or a nice guy or anything -- just that he was a character who jumped out at me. In contrast, for instance, to Sadie and Lil, who I found very unconvincing, for different reasons. Perhaps it is because he is at one end of the continuum -- someone who can't seem to find his path out of his 20s and into his 30s, even as, one by one, members of his group succeed in doing so in their individual ways. More than the others, Dave seems to hanker for the golden age of their college days, and thus plays an important contrasting role, IMO.

 

His reaction to Sadie's interference on his behalf is an example of the stubborn and self-defeating kind of pride I have seen in people like him who want to succeed, but only on their own terms -- and who then end up defeated and bitter. (Ironically, I suspect if he had compromised and been an 'easier' character, he would still have ended up bitter because of his decision to compromise!) I know people like Dave; many of the other characters baffled me, perhaps because I'm not seeing deeply enough into them or they aren't convincingly enough portrayed. Dave is the kind of guy who will always cut off his nose to spite his face, and age and experience won't change that. He's the kind of guy who, age 50, will mutter bitterly at the neighborhood bar, "I coulda been a contender."

 

I completely see Jon's point re the music, but I don't feel that stands out, because that is typical of the character portrayals throughout the book. In every case, we feel like we are drowning in introspection but when I step back, I realize that in every case there are important dimensions of the character that are AWOL. 


 

I agree, Chatterbox. I thought Dave was a compelling, believable character. Little moments, like when Emily showed up at his door with all the ribs for the barbecue and he has a flash of resentment, that she would agree to do him a favor but then go completely overboard, followed immediately by appreciation, made Dave very real to me.  
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debbook
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Re: Dave

I'm not sure how I felt about Dave. I know I thought he was completely wrong for Emily and am glad they did not end up together. He was very immature and very unhappy. Even when things start to fall into place for him, he still seems unsatisfied. Though we do find out at the end he is recording his own solo album, but by that time his story in the book is over, so we really don't know if he matured a bit after.
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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Dave

Dave wasn't a favorite of mine.  I thought he was a loser slacker that suffered from entitlement mentality.  He quits when things get competitive and more difficult.

He's been jealous of Tal for years.  Tal seems to have a plan and is working to that plan.  While Dave is waiting for success to find him.

From what I got in later chapters - Dave's career seems to pick up - but is that more because of Curtis and the band than because of him?  Did he find coat tails?

 

Susan

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olivialove
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Dave

I've known quite a few Dave's, I would even say my ex boyfriend was a "Dave" that being said, he was a very believable character.  It did not make me like him, believe him yes, like him, no. 

 

I saw Dave as immature, spoiled, arrogant, pompous, unfaithful and unloyal.  He is not ever loyal to any of his women, not even Beth (as it indicates he cheated on her), not loyal to his band mates (he searches for reasons to despise them), not to his family (who he ignores once he moves for no apparent good reason) and not even loyal to his suppossed best friend, Tal.

 

Tal is a different story though, I do see that Dave was a little envious of Tal, but underneath all of that he really did love him.  I think he felt a little jaded and left behind when Tal went on to bigger and better things and didn't keep in touch with Dave.  

 

In reading the Dave chapters it was interesting to see the huge contrast between his view of Beth, and Beth's view of him..  Beth who for some reason is clearly still in love with him, but we see that he is going about life just fine, not only that but he has no desire to rekindle anything.  Even when they spent that last summer together, he didn't even really want to.   "all that summer he avoided speaking to Beth" and "...he knew he should love her with equal devotion... but he couldn't...".  Beth seemed controlled by her heart and emotions, while Dave just seemed unsure of everything, and floating along wondering what to do next.. 

 

He loved himself more than anyone else, and even at the end of the book it's not clear if he overcomes those things because no wife, girlfriend, or children are mentioned.    So although it looks like he achieved the career goals he sought, I was still left wondering, but is he still the same Dave?  Arrogant and self absorbed?  And is he doing a solo albumb because he finally fully isolated himself from his bandmates?

 

By the end of the book I had more questions than answers about Dave.

 

 

 

 

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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Dave


olivialove wrote:

[edited]

He loved himself more than anyone else, and even at the end of the book it's not clear if he overcomes those things because no wife, girlfriend, or children are mentioned.    So although it looks like he achieved the career goals he sought, I was still left wondering, but is he still the same Dave?  Arrogant and self absorbed?  And is he doing a solo albumb because he finally fully isolated himself from his bandmates?

 

By the end of the book I had more questions than answers about Dave.

 


You know, I had the same thought about Dave at the end of the book -- oh, he's still a loner, that must mean he hasn't changed/grown up.  But then I realized I was applying a double standard to Dave by judging his emotional development by whether or not he was in a relationship. I would not have done the same to one of the female characters; in fact, I probably would have praised the independence of any of the female characters had they remained single.

 

This is not to say I necessarily think that Dave has matured. I'm not sure. But Dave's inclusion in the narrative and my thoughts and feelings about him often challenged me to examine my own gender prejudices and stereotypes, which I thought was thought-provoking.

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