I have some questions for you by Rebecca Makkai

I remember what I remember remembering.


Set in the present day where the #metoo campaign is front and centre and frequent media discussions around violence agaist women take place, Makkai takes on a murder of a girl in a boarding school and explores the issues it raises years later.

The story is tod by Bodie, an ex-pupil of the school and room-mate of Thalia who was murdered. One night at the end of a school performance she doesn’t attend the party in the woods and eventually, her body is found and Omar, a coach at the school, is charged, tried and found guilty. But there have always been questions about whether Omar is guilty and Bodie, who is now an acclaimed podcaster, manipulates students into trying to find a different solution to the case.

There is so much going on in this story but what Makkai does very well is show that transition from child to young adult well: the humiliations, the pairing off, being left on the outside and then years later discovering that everyone felt this way. A significant proportion of the book is about memory, what we remember and how we remember it alongside the power of group think. This was a group of students who put two and two together and made five or more. It focused on how gossip became fact with no one questioning what was being said or assumed. It also highlighted how useless the police can be and how misdirected they are when they make assumptions.

What I didn’t understand fully was the role of the sub-plot where Bodie’s husband, Jerome, was accused by a younger woman of of abusing her. She was old enough and agreed that the sex was consensual but felt that the power balance was all in Jerome’s favour and that he took advantage of the situation. The artist made a video work of art talking about the relationship and her feelings now which trended online. Twitter in all of this mayhem was completely involved. The accusations doesn’t seem to go anywhere and is not integral to the story.

The book raised issues about the nature of true crime and the use of citizen detectives and the value of podcasting which ended up being a force for good.

A powerful story which was a bit slow in parts.

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