It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.
When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?
When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.
This book was brilliant and for me the reason was it looked at a different perspective of this much talked about and much written about theme. That of rape and sexual assault.
Claire McGowan has always been an intuitive and genuinely talented writer who absorbs you into her stories effortlessly, this was no different and it was an entertaining page turner whilst still being thought provoking and authentic.
Believe sexual assault victims. As a first rule and you should, it is so so difficult for rape victims to speak up, men or women. But what if the person they are accusing is someone close to you. Someone you’ve known forever. Someone you trust entirely. What if the victim is also those things. What then?
This is the central premise the author plays with here and it is entirely riveting. The group dynamic of these long term friends, the aftermath of the accusation, the retrospective memories that make main protagonist Ali question her judgment on everything, all thrown into the plot pot and brought to boiling point where the truth is revealed. And don’t assume you can predict it either, Claire McGowan has never been a path of least resistance writer.
What You Did is a classy psychological thriller, driven by character, memory and the vagaries of human nature, as such you can’t look away from the events unfolding on the page, I read it in two breathless sittings and the moral dilemma’s it threw at me will have me thinking about it for a good while yet.
Stunning. We need more like this.