Title: You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession
Author: Piper Weiss
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 10, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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?
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.