Dovetail: A Novel – Bookclub Discussion Questions

I run a twice yearly bookclub and I’m always perusing the internet for discussion questions. As luck would have it, I can basically NEVER find decent discussion questions for the books I choose. So, as I spent some time making these up, I figured why not put them out there in case someone else has a club who has chosen this book. Feel free to borrow these. A few notes: These are LITERALLY the notes I’m bringing to my book club tomorrow and I have NO interest in correcting the grammar, rewording the sentences, etc. These are my rough notes – if you like them, but you don’t like my casual format, just reword them. I only ask that if you do borrow these, leave me a comment! Thanks so much. I’ll try to do this for all of my book club choices going forward.

  • “its a small world” – are you ok with how the author connections the lives of the characters, or does it present a problem for you? Are there holes in the story that make you uncomfortable?
  • Do you wholly feel for Alice and/or Pearl, or do you fall someplace in the middle?
  • Why do you believe Pearl & Frank married?
  • Has Pearl redeemed herself?
  • The narration switches often – between time period, character point of view, narration style, etc. do you have an opinion on the necessity of this? Did this bother you?
  • Are there loose ends that made you uncomfortable? (how about how Joe never even asked his grandfather’s name, or things along those lines?)
  • Was this the ending you wanted?
  • Pearl is a central focus in the book, but overall we learn very little about her life. Is this missing from the story, or do you think the omission is important?
  • Was this predictable?
  • One reader says, “in order to enjoy the story the reader must park the belivability factor at the door.” Do you agree, and were you ok with this?
  • Is Joe cured, or should his family history of mental illness be explored further?
  • Ricky is clearly a total jerk, but does Frank have any redeeming qualities?
  • Pearl says, “I’ve long believed that no one should be judged on the worst thing they’ve ever done. And not on the best thing, either, for that matter.” Agree/disagree?
  • A few reviews compare this book to both “Quantum Leap” and the idea of reincarnation and/or soul mates. Is this that?
  • Once Joe & Kathleen realize that “living” a dream makes it go away, were you annoyed that they weren’t more mentally prepared the night of barn dance?
  • Do you think the lightening tree is a reference to Jane Eyre? Or was that just me?
  • Do you find Joe & Kathleen’s reaction to having dreams that relive the lives of ACTUAL PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES to be underwhelming?

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