Monday, April 16, 2018

TLC Book Tours Review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession by Piper Weiss

Title: You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession
Author: Piper Weiss
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 10, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins

What's the Story?:

From "Piper Weiss was fourteen years old when her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that this well-known figure among the Upper East Side tennis crowd was actually a frightening child predator who had built a secret torture chamber—a "Cabin of Horrors"—in his secluded rental in the Adirondacks.

Before the shocking scandal broke, Piper had been thrilled to be one of "Gary’s Girls." "Grandpa Gary," as he was known among his students, was different from other adults—he treated Piper like a grown-up, taking her to dinners, engaging in long intimate conversations with her, and sending her special valentines. As reporters swarmed her private community in the wake of Wilensky’s death, Piper learned that her mentor was a predator with a sordid history of child stalking and sexual fetish. But why did she still feel protective of Gary, and why was she disappointed that he hadn’t chosen her?

Now, twenty years later, Piper examines the event as both a teenage eyewitness and a dispassionate investigative reporter, hoping to understand and exorcise the childhood memories that haunt her to this day. Combining research, interviews, and personal records, You All Grow Up and Leave Me explores the psychological manipulation by child predators—their ability to charm their way into seemingly protected worlds—and the far-reaching effects their actions have on those who trust them most."

My Two Cents:

"You All Grow Up and Leave Me" is the true crime story of Gary, a seemingly harmless man that weasels his way into the lives of many of Manhattan's elite families through tennis. He teaches female students how to be successful tennis players and his services are in high demand. He is hiding a very dark side and abuses multiple young girls in a monstrously systematic way and the way it ends for seems like something out of a horror movie.

It took me a little bit to get in the book. At first it seems like the book is very much as simply a memoir of someone who was a teenager in the early 90s. We see Weiss with her friends and what she was doing inside and outside of school. We see the tumultuous relationship with her mother and the friction that permeates their home. Eventually once we get to Gary and into the things he did and the dissection of why he did what he did, the book really picked up for me.

Not only does Weiss explore who Gary was but she was a victim herself - one of Gary's girls. This makes for an especially haunting recounting of Gary's horrible crimes. Weiss seems to go back and forth between really wanting to understand what happened and pushing it away. While this was a little frustrating as a reader, I do think it captures the things that go through a victim's head, especially one so young. Understanding doesn't necessarily change things. I thought it was interesting to see what Weiss found in interviewing some of the other victims and made for a really unique read.

This book stars slowly but ends up with a wild ride. 


1 comment:

  1. Having been a teenager in the late 90s, this story took place just before my time. It's so creepy to realize that something like this could have happened to me and my friends as well.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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