After receiving many requests, the book club questions for GITCHIE GIRL are now available here and on our Facebook page: Phil Hamman and Sandy Hamman (https://www.facebook.com/phil.hamman.author/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel)
Gitchie Girl Book Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think this murder still generates interest over forty years later?
2. The Fryer brothers claim that they originally confronted the teenagers in Gitchie Manitou State Park because the kids had marijuana, and the brothers were under the impression that DEA could shoot to kill if someone possessed drugs. Do you believe their explanation? If not, elaborate. What do you know about the social climate of the mid-1970s that would provide context for this situation?
3. There has been talk of incorporating Gitchie Manitou State Preserve into a larger park area known as Blood Run National Historic Landmark, the largest known Native American site formerly occupied by the Oneota culture. Should Gitchie Manitou retain its name in honor of the memory of the slain boys and the Native American burial mounds that are still there?
4. The murders at Gitchie Manitou brought the horrors of the big city to small town, Midwestern America. After this, people in the area expressed a formerly unknown fear of being in remote areas and began locking their doors. Was this change of becoming more cautious a positive development or was it a weakening of the small town charm where people can live without the constant fear of impending crime?
5. The narrative doesn’t proceed chronologically but rather goes back and forth between the events of the night and the crime scene. Why do you think the authors structured it this way and does it add to or detract from the story?
6. What role did animals play in Sandra’s life? Why are animals so helpful to people who have suffered a traumatic experience?
7. After the trials ended, Sandra fell victim to society’s attitude toward rape victims. What changes have occurred since 1973 that have caused a change in attitudes? What changes still need to be made?
8. When Sandra has a face-to-face meeting with Allen Fryer in Fort Madison Prison, he says the reason he didn’t kill her is because she reminded her of his step-daughter. Do you believe him? If not, what facts or feelings cause you to believe otherwise? What was his reason for asking for her phone number before letting her go that fateful night?
9. Allen Fryer was supposed to finish off Sandra after leaving Gitchie Manitou and again after meeting up with his brothers at the abandoned farm. Why do you think he didn’t carry through with this? Do you think her fate would have been different had she been left in the hands of one of the other brothers?
10. After over 40 years, Sandra met Allen Fryer in a face-to-face prison interview. What would be the most difficult part of a meeting like this for a survivor?
11. The authors tell the survivor’s story. What would you want to know about the murderers’ story?