I Have Some Questions For You
February 21, 2023
Mystery, Literary Fiction
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.-From TheStoryGraph
What I Liked:
There were many things that I loved about this book, first and foremost the narration, and how the book is written as if Bodie is speaking to someone not seen on the page. I liked trying to guess who she was talking to, and even when it was revealed, it made the central mystery more intriguing. While unsettling and depressing, I liked how Makkai interspersed real life instances of violence against women throughout the story. Even more depressing-how many of the cases I recognized from just a one sentence description. One of Makkai’s strengths as a writer are her characters and Bodie was a phenomenal protagonist. She was flawed but realistic and I found myself exasperated with her while still rooting for her. The idea that time and age can skew people’s perceptions of events was fascinating to me and I loved how Makkai took the time to highlight how vastly different society views things now as compared to 30 years ago.
What I Didn’t Like:
I think the message Makkai was attempting to get across about our misogynistic society, our obsession with true crime, and the troubling statistics about violence against women was admirable and for the most part, successful. However, I couldn’t help but feel that some of the themes have been done before, especially recently. I also thought the middle section of this book dragged a bit; some of the memories Bodie recounted didn’t seem to have a purpose to the overall story and some felt repetitive. I also think this book is being mislabeled as a mystery/thriller as it falls more into the literary fiction genre with a hint of mystery.
Who Should Read It:
Fans of Makkai won’t be disappointed with this one, even if it can’t compare to The Great Believers. Anyone looking for a book that will make them think will also enjoy this story.
Review Wrap Up:
As an author, I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety of having to write a follow up to a Pulitzer Prize nominated novel, but with I Have Some Questions For You, Makkai succeeds in reminding us why she was nominated. This book made me think and kept me guessing and I think people will have many things to discuss after reading. I recommend this one.
“I have opinions about their deaths, ones I’m not entitled to. I’m queasy, at the same time, about the way they’ve become public property, subject to the collective imagination. I’m queasy about the fact that the women whose deaths I dwell on are mostly beautiful and well-off. That most of them were young, as we prefer our sacrificial lambs. That I’m not alone in my fixations.”
“..the front page devoted to the same story that had been on the news the other night. The one where men finally told about priests, decades later, and everyone lauded their bravery. The one where the women came forward after five years, and everyone asked why they hadn’t spoken sooner.”
“She was mature-which I’m sure made her more appealing to you. If you’d been interested in someone truly mature, you wouldn’t have spent time with a teenager, but her maturity was probably a convenient excuse. You probably told yourself she was an old soul. I’m sure you told yourself she knew what she was doing.”