Reviews of Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse

Tell Me Everything

The Story of a Private Investigation

by Erika Krouse

Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse X
Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2022, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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About this Book

Book Summary

Part memoir and part literary true crime, Tell Me Everything is the mesmerizing story of a landmark sexual assault investigation and the female private investigator who helped crack it open.

Erika Krouse has one of those faces. "I don't know why I'm telling you this," people say, spilling confessions. In fall 2002, Erika accepts a new contract job investigating lawsuits as a private investigator. The role seems perfect for her, but she quickly realizes she has no idea what she's doing. Then a lawyer named Grayson assigns her to investigate a sexual assault, a college student who was attacked by football players and recruits at a party a year earlier. Erika knows she should turn the assignment down. Her own history with sexual violence makes it all too personal. But she takes the job anyway, inspired by Grayson's conviction that he could help change things forever. And maybe she could, too.

Over the next five years, Erika learns everything she can about P. I. technique, tracking down witnesses and investigating a culture of sexual assault and harassment ingrained in the university's football program. But as the investigation grows into a national scandal and a historic civil rights case, Erika finds herself increasingly consumed. When the case and her life both implode at the same time, Erika must figure out how to help win the case without losing herself.

1
The Face

I became a private investigator because of my face. It's an ordinary-looking face, but if I ask "How are you?" sometimes people start crying. "I'm getting a divorce," they say. "He ended our marriage by text." Or "I was just diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease." Or a man grips a packet of peas in the frozen food aisle and asks, "How do you cook these? My wife died last month."

Or an immaculately dressed woman suddenly tells me, "I hate my job so much I want to kill myself. I've been saving up Ambiens."

Then we sit on a concrete curb, or stand in line at a train station, or clutch clear plastic cups at a party as the near-stranger in front of me dabs away mascara with a cocktail napkin and dumps out her mind like it's her purse, like I'm the one who can sift through the dust and used tissues to find what she's looking for.

Demographics don't seem to matter. Young, old, women, men, nonbinary, gay, straight, rich, poor, East, West—everyone tells me things. A woman with ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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Memoirs are personal, and this one is painful: monsters on one side, suffering on the other. But there is more. Krouse explains the paper trail of depositions, grand jury testimony and prosecutorial discretion, while also reflecting on the larger issues behind the case. There is a passage in the latter part of the book when she says to Grayson, dispirited, "I don't understand how people can hurt women with absolutely no consequence." Her story goes deeper than the crime itself and reflects on the why. Why rape? Why football players? Why black men?..continued

Full Review Members Only (1074 words).

(Reviewed by Valerie Morales).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
[R]iveting and consistently insightful in its assessment of the psychodynamics of trauma for both victims and offenders...The personal narrative, interwoven seamlessly alongside the professional one, is equally compelling...An exceptionally well-told, perceptive examination of a sexual abuse scandal and its personal and social relevance.

Library Journal (starred review)
[Krouse] seamlessly weaves elements of her own history into the narrative as she describes following leads, establishing a case, and fighting for justice. Readers will devour this searingly intimate tale of institutional misogyny. An important addition for all libraries.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Novelist Krouse chronicles a benchmark sexual assault investigation in this enthralling blend of true crime and memoir...what began as a fight for one woman's justice becomes a battle Krouse fights against her own inner demons that eloquently contends with systemic issues still plaguing American institutions today. The emotional catharsis delivered by the book's end turns this sensational tale into a stunning story of redemption and hope. Readers will be gripped.

Booklist
Compelling…Empathetic…Krouse's brutal candor and perceptive insights make for powerful storytelling.

Author Blurb Charles D'Ambrosio, author of Loitering
Tell Me Everything is a reading event in the landscape of memoir unlike anything since Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It's a tale of detection, a mystery, a legal thriller, a whodunit, but it's hardly escapist fare. Ingenious in its approach to impossible subjects, Krouse's vivid and original memoir is state of the art. Tell Me Everything is our new standard.

Author Blurb Lacy Crawford, author of Notes on a Silencing
Tell Me Everything is the best story I've read in a long, long time. Each scene is a remarkable character study; each development is shocking. Told with incredible psychological insight, this book is an unstoppable inquiry that delivers justice for many and, finally, peace for the most deserving. That never happens in real life. Except in this case, it did. This book is beautiful, exhilarating, and wildly rewarding.

Author Blurb Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood
I devoured Tell Me Everything over the course of two breathless days, harrowed and deeply moved. It is at once an exposé, a heart-rending narrative of family trauma and its long legacy, and a thrilling detective story―propulsive as anything by Raymond Chandler but with twice the emotional IQ. This is the most satisfying, urgent book I have read in a long time.

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Beyond the Book

Trauma and the Brain

Diagram of brain showing the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex Rape survivor Erika Krouse rarely dreams. She has lost memories. She has trouble remembering what happened the prior week but knows in spectacular detail how it felt to be raped when she was a child by someone her mother loved. A heartbreaking passage in her memoir Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation explains, "It's as if the regular roads are missing from my mental map."

Trauma can change the brain in various ways. Brain chemistry as well as structure may be altered, affecting cognition, emotional management and neurological functioning. Specific areas of the brain that can be negatively affected by trauma include the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped section of the...

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