cover image Everything I Never Wanted to Know

Everything I Never Wanted to Know

Christine Hume. Mad Creek, $19.95 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-0-8142-5862-0

Hume (Saturation Project), an English professor at Eastern Michigan University, delivers unflinching reflections on the discrediting of and sexual violence against women. Her winding meditations weave personal anecdotes into broader social narratives, as in the essay, “Question Like a Face,” in which she recounts moving into a new house the same week a stranger raped her neighbor and muses about the stickers posted around town depicting a woman who was killed in her home by police officers responding to a domestic violence call, highlighting the fragility of domestic safety for women. In “Riot and Run,” Hume condemns the “trivialization of women’s anger” and argues that the women who tore up storefronts in response to nylon legwear shortages in 1945 were rallying “against profit-mongering, lying producers.” In the collection’s high point, “All the Women I Know,” Hume advocates for understanding women’s bodily autonomy through diverse stories, describing her own abortions and highlighting the continuities between the experiences of other women with repetition of the ironic mantra “No woman I know”: “No woman I know was alone on the swings when it happened.” The heavy subject matter makes for tough but rewarding reading, and the prose is at turns elliptical, poetic, and powerful. It’s a dauntless and harrowing indictment of patriarchal violence. (Mar.)