Amy: My search for her Killer

February’s book was Amy: My search for her Killer by James Renner. Pick brought by Karie.

Book Synopsis:

In the fall of 1989, ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from the cozy Cleveland suburb of Bay Village. Thousands of volunteers, every available police officer, and scores of FBI officers descended upon the town to hunt for the girl. Her picture was everywhere–anyone who watched the local TV news then remembers the photograph of the girl with the sideways ponytail dangling from one side of her smiling face. That image also became indelible in the mind of an eleven-year-old boy almost fifty miles away. James Renner never forgot Amy. Even at that young age, he vowed to find her. Tragically, Amy Mihaljevic was found dead a few months later. Her killer, however, was never found. The case remains unsolved. That cold case never left the mind of the impressionable young boy, who grew up and became a reporter for an alternative weekly magazine in Cleveland. Fifteen years after Amy’s body was found, Renner picked up the leads himself and began trying to solve the crime. 

Book Discussion:

It was a couple of Firsts for the ladies of Dine & Opine.  *First time for a true crime genre *First Video Conference held Bookclub *First Bathroom video (Cue:  Smoking in the boys room song)
Being that the bookclub was held via Video, it amazed some of us that: Some were still early (Logged in prior to 7pm) Some were LATE! (HOW??? WHY???) Some were not as computer savvy as expected.
Who was in the bathroom? Who was early? Who was late? Who was stumped by their computer? Who Forgot? Who Read the book? And What are we reading next? Fortunately for us, unlike the book, these mysteries will be solved.
 The setting:March 17th, 2020 6:55pm.. I, Karie, open my laptop and follow the instructions sent by our fearless leader, Jill. Once set up, I went and poured a glass of wine. Next, said leader, Jill joins the Virtual bookclub. To keep in theme, she had ordered food and was enjoying sushi throughout the evening. Next, almost at exactly 7pm- Amy joined us… complete with a table cloth and her own “waiter”, i.e. Her husband. As we waited, we discussed how everyone was doing. Tick… tick… tick…By 7:05pm we realize that, seriously, people are late!!! 
DING! Shobha joins us! FROM HER BATHROOM? NO worries. No number 1’s or 2’s were happening. She was hiding out in her bathroom for a bit prior to moving into another room.
Slowly…. The other Dine and Opiners joined. Two stated Technical difficulties, Suhanti and Susan; one thought that we were starting at 7:30, Hetal; and one just forgot! (Gasp….), Jennifer. 
For those D & O Ladies that were early, on time or close to being on time- we began discussing the book. 
One major discussion point, brought up by Amy (Not the dead one), is that there is no ending. The murder remains unsolved. We discussed the details to why it hasn’t been solved. How, if it were to happen today, would it be solved and what, if anything, could be done differently. The fact that the book was not wrapped up at the end, left many unfulfilled. Which is ironic, since at times, many dislike when a story is too wrapped up at the end. And that is part of the idea. This story is a true crime. There are many unsolved murders. Real life is not a story that you can just create the ending and wrap it up with a bowing tying  up all the loose ends. 
Another point of discussion were the amount of potential suspects. As Jill asks, is it weird that there are so many weird people in that small of an area? Myself and Susan quickly explained that Ohio is just that. Many “Unique” individuals. Being that we are both from Ohio we were able to help explain the weirdness that is Ohio. And if a Non-Dine and Opiner is reading this and you are from Ohio… Feel free to take offense, then take a breathe and shake your head- cuz you know it is true. 
After talking about all of the suspects, we each gave our opinions, playing the part of a wanna-be inspector, of who we thought Done-It. We discussed the idea that perhaps it wasn’t any of them and that another bad-person was at the right place, at the right time, to take advantage of the situation (Amy alone and not knowing who she was meeting). If that was the case- talk about timing. We all thought that that scenario was a bit far-fetched. So we circled back to the known suspects. It seemed that there were 2 (Two) suspects that stood out more than the others. One- the Naked Man and the second the boy who killed himself shortly after Amy’s body was discovered.
One item, well actually two items, that made this book discussion were that: 1- I actually went to school with the Author (YES! I busted out a few old school year books), which means that I was around that area when it happened, although not in that town- I was able to recall a little bit of the story albeit I didn’t follow the story like the author. 
2- Mr. Renner was open to answering questions. I sent him a message and he responded very quickly. Dine and Opine has been very fortunate to have authors Skype, meet us and message us! Mr. James Renner is now added to that list of authors. 
Overall the book received a sideways thumb. The book conversation was intriguing and I think the Dine and Opiners will continue with reading books and not become detectives… Although, once we are all out and about again- I think a murder mystery party might be in order.
The next book is- 
Oh good lord…. Did we have some thoughts about what the rule was for a tie. Y’all… RULE 235 paragraph 2 sub-paragraph 2.B states- in the event of a tie, each member is to then vote on their second pick. 😂
The Book that won is Catch and Kill By Ronan Farrow
For those who argued the tie break- there are a few rogue D & O’s that will be reading two books (Shhh… I will be as well… I mean- what else are we going to be doing??? LOL) The Second book is Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Did I miss anything? 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

February  2019 Book Pick

Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine: A Novel

by Gail Honeyman


No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.


Book Discussion:

Check back for Update!


My (Karie’s) Thoughts on Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine:

Where to start? There are so many points that should be covered in the discussion of this book. So let’s start with Eleanor. Well, I actually think almost every question that could be discussed probably includes Eleanor in some way. Let me just start from the beginning.

My first initial thought of Eleanor, honestly, was that she might have been on the spectrum for Autism. Having a nephew on the spectrum, I recognized a few similar traits. However, I believe I was wrong. The reason being that at the end of the book and learning everything about Eleanor- being socially non-immediately conforming is not a reason to believe that someone is on the spectrum. I actually was feeling quite mad at myself. See, for those that do not know me, I have a tendency to be a very up front, non-sugar coating, truth bomb type of person. I have always figured that if someone asks my opinion then I will give it. None of that “I love you but” bullcrap. COME ON…. the BUT cancels out the I love you part. Before I go off on some other thought tread lets continue, Just because Eleanor is up front with formalities and within the way she shares information shouldn’t have placed a label on her. I actually really love that about her character. Her straight forwardness, her attention to details and her bewilderment at the details that some choose to focus.

That brings me to my next point. The co-workers. I find it amusing that the co-workers (Raymond excluded) pretty much ignore and mock her…. until she starts adhering to the “Social Norms” i.e. wearing makeup, having newer/nicer clothes, hair done…. all the stereotypical woman magazine “Make Him Notice You” crap. I get it; I really do. We, as women, want to feel pretty. We fall into those traps. And what baffles me; is even though we will bitch and complain about it all, when someone doesn’t follow those “Rules” or “Social Norms” then some women will treat that person differently. Why? In today’s society it still baffles me that people, who aren’t the “Social norm”, must adjust their behavior to be liked or to make those around them comfortable. And this is only a 1 way road. Me, being me, I have never had someone change their conversation from some gossip to world news to make me feel included. I have been told to “be softer” or to “Say it nicer”. So why is it that it is expected for some to curve their personality and not others? If one is willing to bend- then others should as well.

On the flip side of this conversation- Because Eleanor decided to under go changes (Although it was for the “Project” i.e. a man) I wonder if she was ready for a change. After everything that happened to her and how long she has been harboring the details- I wonder if a part of her just wanted to rip out of her current shell and put on a new one- like a growing crab running out of space and finally reaches a point where it needs a new, bigger and brighter shell. I wonder if that is where the sudden onset of needing to change, to “fit the life style of what the musician would expect”, comes from. I think she might have needed a reason, to justify growing from the person who she was to who she wants to be.

Next discussion point: Mummy. This will be my last discussion point for a while. I am still making notes on a couple of things and actually I am excited for the Dine & Opine Discussion on this book. Many people are lucky enough to not have experienced anything traumatic. Unfortunately, there are those that have. How one deals with the events is different for each person. How I dealt worked for me… might not work for someone else. However, I think that a person, who has lived through something horrible, can understand why someone else might be dealing with their event in a certain way. Which is why I can kind of understand Eleanor and Mummy. Here are my thoughts:

Eleanor feels like she failed. No. Not just feel, in her eyes she did fail. She tried hard to be the perfect daughter, to make her mummy proud. Because I think she felt that if she could just make her mummy proud then all would be better. Mummy would be happy. When the fire happened and she learns that mummy set the fire on purpose- I think it broke her. Here she was trying, trying so hard to make everything right, trying to make her mummy happy and her mummy killed her sister and Eleanor was suppose to die- but survived. The guilt of not being able to save her sister, to live up to the crazy standards of mummy- standards that would never have been met, she blames herself. With the blame she keeps mummy in her head because she is scared to move forward. I think she was afraid to move on until the “Project”. I think her “project” was a way of breaking free and stepping out of her mummy’s shadow.



Book Discussion The Wife Between Us

February’s book pick offered the Dine & Opine ladies a genre that we haven’t read in a while… Thriller. For myself, coming off of ready All the King’s Men, this was a nice brain break read. Now, don’t take that to mean that this book is a no-need-to-think book. This book definitely doesn’t fit in that category.

When I read thrillers, mysteries, who-done-its books- normally I can tell early on who did what, why and so forth. This book – I HAD NO CLUE. Think Gone Girl but different (I figured out Gone Girl before the twist was given). And in this book, the book with TWO authors, there is more than one twist. There are multiple and they are surprising.

This book received an all around THUMBS UP from the Dine & Opine Ladies!

Now time to read March’s book- The Power.

Did you read The Wife Between Us? Did you like it? Dislike it?