I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
“Just because you can’t picture someone doing something doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of it.”- Rebecca Makkai, I Have Some Questions for You
Summary: A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past— her four 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 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 drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict someone, did 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 had thought—if, perhaps, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
My Thoughts: Rebecca Makkai wrote Bodie in a way that perfectly shows how when you’re in so much pain yourself, you feel downright lonely. In those moments, you fail to notice that those around you feel the same way. Bodie is strong, resilient, flawed, and scarred by tragedy. All of which add to her character development.
Makkai shows the social dynamics between classes and genders while asking uncomfortable questions about victim narratives in order to gain status and attention. She tackles highly relevant topics such as gender norms, racism, “Me Too”, Covid, the justice system, misogyny, cancel culture, predatory behavior, and more, challenging our preconceptions and underlining the complexity of the real world
This story does have multiple timelines. In the beginning, you have a forty-four-year-old Bodie in the present, but the next minute you are in 2016, and then 2018, where the bulk of the novel took place. Additionally, there are multiple flashbacks to Bodie’s four school years at Granby (1991-1995) and a few from her childhood. And, these flashbacks and flash-forwards switched at the drop-of-a-hat or a scene that triggered something from Bodie’s past. Once I got into the groove, though, I enjoyed it.