Monday, December 5, 2016

HOW WILL I KNOW YOU? BY JESSICA TREADWAY - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway. Thank you so much to Hachette and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. As always, all opinions are my own.


Oh boy, where do I even start with this one.

So the basic premise is that a teenaged girl, named Joy, was thought to have drowned but was apparently actually murdered. After a fairly racist, incorrectly executed, possibly tampered with investigation, the local police force arrests an art student named Martin. Who also appears to be one of the only black person the residents of this town have ever interacted with. Yup.

We get the story from a few different perspectives, Joy's best friend, Harper, Joy's mother, Susanne, Martin himself, and the guy who lead the dive search party and the interim police chief's son-in-law, Tom. Obviously, with all these perspectives, we get a lot of random details that at some point you think pertain to the story, but actually don't.

Before I get into some of the major issues I had with this book, I will say that it had a good premise. Girl who's kind of been acting out goes missing, no one knows if she's actually dead until they find a body. But there were so many problems I had with the story and the portrayals of race, etc. that kept me from getting into this book.

Ok first, let's talk about the depiction of race here, because it was mind-boggling to me. Now, I am going to preface this by saying that I am not an American, I am Canadian. And while that may not seem to be important, or make a difference, it does. Canada is by no means not racist. We, I don't think, are overtly racist, but we are not saints. That being said, the racism I have seen in my country is worlds different than that of racism in America. The truth of the matter is the two countries have very different histories and treated (and still treat) minorities differently. There were a lot of passages of Martin's that struck me deeply. I am white, I am fully aware of the white privilege I hold and will probably hold for the rest of my life, but when he said things like he learned years ago not to show anger in front of white people, my heart hurt.

There has been a lot recently that has changed how I think a lot of people look at race and POC in their communities, and not always for the better. My heart broke for Martin because I knew he was innocent. Even if they found the mask in his drawer, even if he knew Joy, I knew he was innocent. Not because of race or prejudice, but because I didn't see a murderer in him. His skin colour should have nothing to do with whether or not he is guilty, but unfortunately, it does. He is guilty until proven innocent, and even when he is let go, people harass him, one person goes so far as to setting his grandmother's house that he grew up in on fire. He goes to send flowers to Joy's parents on the day of the funeral after he has been taken out of the investigation, and the florist won't serve him. His own mother doesn't want him because she's white and he's not.

Part of me doesn't know how to feel about Treadway's portrayal of the treatment of Martin and POC. While it is definitely an, unfortunately, common reaction, I find myself wondering if it did anything for the story. If the story is any better because she included those elements. And I'm not sure it is.

I think this story just rubbed me the wrong way. There was racism out in the open, potentially dirty cops and a few too many uses of the r-word to engage me in the story.

While I'm sure if you are able to overlook the issues in this book, you might find a decent thriller. The other perspectives were interesting, and the killer was so random, you couldn't see it coming a mile out.

I almost gave up on this book too many times for me to give it more than a 1 star rating, and I feel as though I read a different book than the other reviewers I've seen.

Overall, not worth it.