Book Cover

Everything I Never Wanted to Know

Christine Hume

184 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
13 Illus.
Pub Date: March, 2023

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction

Series: 21st Century Essays

Imprint: Mad Creek

order Paperback $19.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5862-0
Order PDF ebook$19.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8268-7

“A dauntless and harrowing indictment of patriarchal violence.” —Publishers Weekly

“Provocative and intelligent … gives voice to the many ways females (and other marginalized people) are stripped of their power by (White) male misogyny. A thoughtfully disturbing, sharp sociological study.” —Kirkus

“Using personal experience, history (the 1940s Nylon Riots), and current events (Larry Nasser), Hume weaves meandering, compelling, erudite essays firmly based in feminism.… For any and all readers ready to work their brains around serious issues.” —Kathy Sexton, Booklist

“When people ask me who my favorite living writers are, I never hesitate to mention Christine Hume. She brings a poet’s precision and artfulness to every subject she tackles, but Everything I Never Wanted to Know feels like her greatest work yet. Every dark corner of American suburbia is on trial here through lenses personal, anthropological, sociopolitical, and even metaphysical. What emerges is a work unlike any other—this book altered me and my expectations of literature.” —Porochista Khakpour, author of Brown Album

“Christine Hume delivers a unique blend of journalism that is deeply embedded in lived experience and life-writing that interrogates the political and bodily contexts in which both writing and life occur. There is inherent sadness in learning what one never wanted to know and great triumph in the self-actualization and liberation Hume finds there.” —Kazim Ali, author of Inquisition

“Brace yourself. Everything I Never Wanted to Know is an unflinching look at how women’s bodies are eviscerated and devoured by the male gaze, by language and etymologies, and by the residue of objects like the ‘obedient doll’—the frozen destroyer of our lives. Christine Hume weaves a lyric, personal, and cultural narrative that challenges us: Do not look away from this important book.” —Megan Culhane Galbraith, author of The Guild of the Infant Saviour

In Everything I Never Wanted to Know, Christine Hume confronts the stigma and vulnerability of women’s bodies in the US. She explores bodily autonomy and sexual assault alongside the National Sex Offender Registry in order to invoke not solutions but a willingness to complicate our ideas of justice and defend every human’s right to be treated like a member of the community. Feminist autobiography threads into historical narrative and cultural criticism about the Victorian-era Frozen Charlotte doll; the Nylon Riots of the 1940s; the movie Halloween; Larry Nassar, who practiced in Hume’s home state of Michigan; and other material. In these reflections on sexuality, gender, criminality, and violence, Hume asks readers to reconsider what we have collectively normalized and how we are each complicit, writing through the darkness of what we don’t want to see, what we’d rather not believe, and what some of us have long tried to forget.

Read Christine Hume’s interview with beach glass.

Read Christine Hume’s interview with A2 Pulp.

Listen to Christine Hume interviewed on Stateside.

“In her essays, Hume writes with a discerning and complicating gaze … [Her] book does not answer any questions, for the questions are not neat … It imagines what it might mean to not only look at the dynamics of gender, violence, and criminality, but to actually process what we’ve seen.” —Ilana Bean, Cleveland Review of Books

“Mesmerizingly articulate … Everything I Never Wanted to Know is a collection of essays that combine the analytical, lyrical, and experimental to explore the continued resonances and limitations of the discussion around sexual predation. Nothing is simple in this book, and there are no heroes.” —Juliana Spahr, LA Review of Books

Everything I Never Wanted to Know asks us to sit with our discomfort and question our impulse to turn away as well as embrace our capacity to go on anyway. [It] performs a gesture more potent than catharsis: a reckoning … The ultimate hope Hume offers readers isn’t the empty promise of a solution, but the steadfast awareness that another way is always possible.” —Elizabeth Hall, Full Stop

Christine Hume is Professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. She is the author of several books, including Saturation Project and Shot.


ONE: Consider

Question Like a Face

Consider the Sex Offender

The Unregistered: Glances Toward and Away

Our Favorite Costume Is the One We Force Others to Wear

Ghost Walk (Tour of Ypsilanti)

TWO: Yes, But

Frozen and Phantom Wings: The Body in Pieces

Icy Girls, Frigid Bitches, Frozen Dolls

Riot and Run: A Nylon Counternarrative

All the Women I Know

White Noise Nocturne (Tour of Ypsilanti)



Selected Sources

Related Titles:

Book Cover

Quite Mad

An American Pharma Memoir

Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Book Cover



Negesti Kaudo

Book Cover

Don't Look Now

Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen

Edited by Kristen Iversen and David Lazar