Likes to Smile Book Club – Dollface


It had been so long since I had picked up this book, what with my insane November and December, that when I was in Cancun, I started over. I read it all in one day. Dollface might be my favorite book I’ve read in a long, long time, regardless of whether or not I’m related to the writer (hi, Aunt Renee!).

Which is why, I’m so excited it’s finally discussion day! Should we get this party started?!

Likes to Smile Book Club Dollface Discussion!

Here are our questions:
1) Every Likes to Smile Book Club discussion starts the same way! Let’s cast the book! Which actors should play Vera, Shep and Tony? Feel free to cast any other parts, as well.
2) There were many friendships portrayed in the book. Which was your favorite?
3) Likewise, there were many relationships portrayed in the book. Which was your favorite?
4) The women portrayed in this book were incredibly strong. Who did you relate to the most?
5) Vera spent a lot of energy trying not to become her mother, only to end up taking over the family business. Did you foresee this or were you surprised when you read it?
6) What was your favorite part?
7) What question did I fail to ask that you are dying to discuss? Propose it in the comments and we can all chat away about it!

I’ll answer the questions here and you can answer in the comments. Feel free to comment on one another’s answers and get a discussion going. And if you leave a comment, I promise to respond.

My answers:
1) CASTING THE BOOK: I choose Amy Adams for Vera; Chris Noth for Shep (or Dan Bucatinsky); and Matthew McConaughey as Tony. I also cast Leighton Meester as Basha.

2) FAVORITE FRIENDSHIP: Basha paired with almost anyone. Basha was very pragmatic, she knew exactly the world she was in and she made no apologies for it. She also understood the emotions that came with being a “gun moll” in said world and just knew when to show up, pour a drink and be supportive. I was captivated by her in every scene she appeared in and found myself eager to discover what she might say next.

3) FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP: Shep and Vera. Despite knowing from almost the get-go that there was no way those two would have a “hollywood-happy-ending,” I found myself rooting for it throughout the book. As he walked into the Clark Street garage, I kept whispering under my breath, “Will you just listen to her?”

Shep also had a code of honor I admired, albeit a very twisted code. He really believed it was his job to protect and care for his family. He also treated his family with a great deal of respect. I never got the sense that he was one to have a girlfriend on the side.

4) FAVORITE FEMALE: Vera. That girl has grit. And gumption. I was particularly taken with how she managed to pull herself and Evelyn into an illegal business to find the money she needed for herself and Hannah. Her brain was set on making it happen, and so she did. I would never involve myself in an illegal business, but I enjoyed watching her go after her goals (no matter how misguided those may have been).

5) ON BECOMING HER MOTHER: This is precisely why I felt it was the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. I did not foresee it coming at all; but when I read it, all I could think was “of course, that makes sense.” The author left breadcrumb after breadcrumb, leaving the perfect trail to the end. And still… I didn’t see it coming. The first hint was left in all the discussion of her dreading that lifestyle, the smell, and the dirty fingernails. But then, when she became a boot-legger herself and noted that she learned negotiation from her mother…

Following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, I knew that no one would take care of Vera (especially after discovering her relationship with Tony) and I wondered how she would fare now. Still, I hoped it wouldn’t turn to her running her family’s business. But, “of course!”

Somewhere during the reading of the book, I fell a bit in love with Vera and my heart broke for her that she ended up working for Abramovitz Meats. It felt like a cruel twist of fate, even for a girl who got caught up in a world of gangsters.

6) FAVORITE PART: How do I pick just one? I think my favorite part was the depiction of 1920’s Chicago. Just imagining the era was riveting. What it must have been like to have been a flapper and to be taken to all those restaurants and speakeasys! Didn’t it just make you wish you were there to witness it in person?! It was easy to find compassion for how Vera (and Evelyn) could so easily get themselves caught up in that lifestyle. I was caught up in it from the novel alone!

7) YOUR TURN: Propose a question!

And you? What did you think of the book? I cannot wait to read your answers in the comments! That others read Dollface and came to participate in a Likes to Smile Book Club Discussion warms my heart. Thank you!

Until next time!



  1. I will have to check out this book. The fact that you chose Amy Adams, for who I assume is the main character, has me sold!

  2. Thanks for selecting DOLLFACE Stacey! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book enough to share it on your blog!

  3. Get out of my head Stacey Beth! I also cast Amy Adams and Chris Noth! Didn’t know who to cast as tony…

    2) my fave friendship was the mob wives. Fiercely loyal with incredibly strong ties, people who would otherwise probably never have been friends.

    3) Vera and Shep were definitely my favourite. I just found myself hoping that she would stop seing tony because she loved shep so much and I just kept hoping everything would work out for them!

    4) we were obviously meant to understand Vera the most but that doesn’t always lead to identifying with a character. I can’t say I identified with her but I loved her. Fantastic character development, I felt like I knew Very like my very own friend.

    5) while I also didn’t foresee Vera becoming her Mother, I was not surprised by it either. I feel like a lot of what happened in the book was leading up to that moment, but I don’t think Vera would ever have truly understood/respected her mother 100% had she not taken over the business, and I feel like that not only showed depth of character, but also compassion and maturity that Vera was lacking despite all the growing up she had done up to that point.

    6) my favourite part was all of it! Really fantastic book!!

    • Thanks Jamie! So glad you liked it. I’m going to have to look into this Amy Adams / Chris Noth connection. Once upon a time I saw Natalie Portman and Adrien Brody as Vera and Shep.

      Thanks again!!!

    • HAHAHHAAHA! I so so so so so much love that you picked Chris Noth and Amy Adams!! AMAZING!!!

      And I’m with you, I kept being all “Vera, stay away from Tony!!!”

      And Vera was fantastically developed.

      I loved it all, too!! xoxoxo


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