Author: Rebecca Makkai
Rating: 5 stars
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Format read: Audiobook
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I received an Audiobook Listening Copy (ALC) of this book from the Libro.fm Influencer Catalogue in exchange for an honest review
Rebecca Makkai’s latest novel is, to be honest, nearly too overambitious. It shoots to have a perspective on everything, and while most of the time that misses for me, I Have Some Questions For You manages to pull it off by leaning directly into the unlikeable narrator quality without undercutting my investment in the story.
The book takes place in the aftermath of #MeToo, with our now adult narrator looking back on her days at her high school boarding school while also going through things in the present day. The true “mystery” of this book revolves around a 15 year-old murder that resulted in a Black man being imprisoned. While there are some conspiracy theories that he did not actually do it, for the most part it is believed.
It is only now, all this time later, that our narrator takes the time to think about whether Omar could have possibly actually done it, and what it means if he didn’t. What complicates this story is that rather than just exploring this one mystery, we are also exploring what it means to live in a post-#MeToo Trump era.
Our protagonist, Bodie, is now finally realizing that a teacher she adored in high school was predatory, while at the same time arguing that her own (soon to be) ex-husband is not guilty for dating a 21 year old when he was 31. Bodie is messy. She refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing when it directly impacts her, and then calls out her boarding school classmates for refusing to acknowledge wrongdoing because it impacts them. The story twists and weaves, and if you leave the novel assuming that Bodie supposed to be the “good guy”, then (in my opinion) you left the novel with the wrong message. Makkai did just enough to make Bodie absolutely incredibly annoying while still allowing me to enjoy the story through her eyes.
I always struggle to write reviews for mystery/thrillers, mostly because it seems impossible to evaluate the quality of the book without spoiling the ending. How do I explain whether or not the clues added up without implicating the murderer in the process? Because of that, I will try to stay away from the murder itself.
Julia Whelan was the audiobook narrator, and as alway she did an absolutely incredible job. There are many sections where Bodie lists off “the one where…” murders, and via audiobook this was compelling.
The book also did a great job of showing the difference between generations, as well as the well-meaning mess that many white people cause. Britt, a student in Bodie’s podcasting class, knew that she should not talk about the case against Omar because as a white girl it wasn’t really hers to tell. Still, she did it anyways. Bodie knows that women of color are disadvantaged in nearly every industry and yet she still chooses not to believe one woman who said she felt pressured into dating an older man.
People are messy, and in this case I think the author managed to pull it off. Plus, the murder case was compelling both because of the murder itself and the other realizations related to #MeToo that all tied in. I would recommend this book, just don’t go into it expecting a likable protagonist.