Title: You Don’t Know Me
Author: Imran Mahmood
Pub Date: May 4th, 2017
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.
He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.
There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:
Did he do it?
This is a very intriguing book that’s done so, so well. I’m so impressed with the writing, it’s so smooth. The whole book, but the last or second to last chapter are transcripts from a defendant accused of murder. The young man decided to get rid of his lawyer and say all the truth, with all the backstory. He decided that he wants to say it as he knows is, without lawyer saying him what is better to omit and what should be said in specific kind of way.
The first thing that got me into this book is definitely the writing, the language, the style. The boy’s speech is so smooth, that’s the most appropriate word that comes to my mind to describe how it felt to read it. I was instantly hooked, I wanted to see what will he say, how will he describe this story. I can imagine that this book could be an amazing audiobook.
The second thing that got me into this book is the story. It’s fascinating and complex. First, we are presented with several pieces of evidence against the defendant. He enumerates them and then starts to explain how those pieces of evidence come to be. And nothing is black and white in this story. There are so many layers and motives. And just when you think that you learn the truth, the story comes around and it’s something completely different. We are given few of those moments. They are annoying but done so well…
What is tackled in this book is that we truly don’t know anyone. And we cannot judge what happened just on the basis of few pieces of evidence, that don’t tell the full story. As we read the book, we realise how easy it was to misjudge and jump to conclusions. How we make judgements based on bias, someone’s looks, voice, how they speak. Another issue brought up in this book are gangs. How they affect young boys, how difficult for some of them, living in poor neighbourhoods to avoid stepping on the path to crime and drugs. How some things are inevitable, and where you were born determines your whole life. This book gives an important perspective on those issues and gave me a lot to think about. Especially how complicated is this world, nothing is black and white and you don’t know me, him or them.