Paul MacDonald sees Peter Goldsworthy as a writer who 'moves seamlessly from the comic to the tragic' and 'moves beyond caricatures and creates characters that rise above the pages'. Everything I Knew is a boy's coming-of-age story, set in 1964 and focused around 'a year of first times and fresh discoveries' (Goldsworthy, cited in MacDonald, p.23) and is reviewed by MacDonald as a story that is as much about philosophical questioning as it is about teenage obsession. He see the narrative as one that invites contemplation by 'forcing' its readers 'to reflect on the title and question how much do we ever really know about the present'. Do we need the gift of time to more properly reflect upon expereince? Does age offer insight or just platforms of regret?