A former private investigator tells of her involvement in a landmark sexual assault case on a college campus in the early 2000s, interweaving her experience working on the case with the story of her own sexual abuse and its aftermath.
As the investigation progresses, Krouse unfurls a storyline as compelling as any detective novel ... Without absolving the players for their actions, Krouse lays a steaming bag of blame at the doorstep of the coach and his organization ... As gifted as she is at listening, Krouse is equally good at telling a story. There are many memorable characters in Tell Me Everything—from the plus-size sex worker to the beady-eyed coach to the incomparable Mr. Fixit that is JD—but it’s Krouse’s own persona, with her supernatural powers, her supersize wounds, and her spiritual speedball of courage and vulnerability, that makes this book mesmerizing on every page.
... beautifully written, disturbing and affecting ... This is literary nonfiction at a high level. Fans of true crime might be disappointed in the eccentricities of the writer, who regularly finds reason to detail, say, drought conditions in Colorado, instead of giving a straightforward accounting of crimes and cover-ups...The book swirls around major sexual issues of our day — consent, college rape culture, institutional accountability — without ever feeling preachy or didactic. Instead, we get beautiful sentences that leap out of nowhere ... In detailing her own trauma, Krouse is unsparing...I found myself gasping at some moments involving her mother, the pain heightened by tenderness ... There are occasional false moments, too. The author sometimes drops into hard-boiled noir tropes that feel at odds with the tone of the book. And occasionally the story reads like a creation myth for a hero P.I. ... At first, I worried that the dual narratives of Krouse’s personal story and the football team’s rape case wouldn’t coalesce. Sadly, they fit together all too well.
... splendid ... This is a startlingly fresh book that proves the memoir can do much, much more than just describe, or pretend to describe, what really happened ... Is Krouse exaggerating here? Probably, but the persona she’s crafting for herself—a nebbishy yet funny everywoman, a bit klutzy and specializing in self-deprecating wisecracks—is as familiar as her face. She’s Cathy from the comics, Liz Lemon, a character to be played by Beanie Feldstein: relatable, comfortable company who transforms her utter averageness into humor ... nothing undermines Krouse’s self-description more than the scenes in which she interviews victims, witnesses, and perpetrators in the campus rape case. These read like a master class in drawing people out, no easy task in a football-worshipping town where the accusers paid a heavy social price for troubling the home team ... figuring out Krouse is the most fascinating puzzle in the book. She is an unreliable narrator, but not about the facts—about herself. At the beginning of Tell Me Everything, the reader has to peer beneath Krouse’s self-portrait of a hapless nonentity to see the tough, canny survivor she actually is. How does a person end up so blind to her own nature? And how did she become such a savant at reading people in the first place? As she works on this enraging case, with victims whose experiences often mirror her own, Krouse inches her way toward a better understanding of who she is. Tell Me Everything isn’t a testimony of suffering. It’s the evidence of what Krouse has made from it: an artist, and a formidable one.