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The Private Investigator Behind America’s First Title IX Case

One pivotal afternoon, Erika Krouse met an attorney in a bookstore when they both reached for the same Paul Auster novel. Much to his surprise, he soon found himself confiding in her. She told him not to worry–strangers divulged secrets to her all the time–whereupon he offered her a job as a private investigator. And so, with no prior experience, Erika wound up investigating sexual assaults by members of a Division I college football team for what became the first Title IX sexual assault case in the country. She did so notwithstanding her own history as a victim of sexual assault by a family member–a history her mother refuses to acknowledge.

Now, Erika has written a memoir, Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation, about the case and her related life experience. In this episode of Book Dreams, Erika speaks with Julie and Eve about the techniques she used to get people to talk when they were often deeply reluctant to do so; what it was like to meet with football players who had been told, in essence, that she was the enemy; and why she sometimes thinks the subtitle of the memoir should be How I Became an Asshole. Erika relays, too, the many complicated ways that her family trauma intertwined with her pursuit of justice in the Title IX case.

Erika Krouse’s short story collection, Come Up and See Me Sometime, won the Patterson Fiction Award, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and is translated into six languages. Her short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and many other publications. Her stories have been shortlisted for Best American Short Stories, Best American NonRequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize. She's also the author of the novel Contenders. Tell Me Everything is her first nonfiction book. It was a Book of the Month Club Pick, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and a People Magazine People Pick.

Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A Most Anticipated Book: Harper’s Bazaar, Real Simple, Elle, BookPage, Book Riot, Literary Hub, The Millions, CrimeReads

A People Magazine Book of the Week

“Masterful…As compelling as any detective novel…Mesmerizing on every page." ―Washington Post

“[A] beautifully written, disturbing and affecting memoir. This is literary nonfiction at a high level.” New York Times Book Review

“Splendid…Startlingly fresh…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.” Slate

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