You All Grow Up and Leave Me
A highly unsettling blend of true crime and coming-of-age memoir— The Stranger Beside Me meets Prep—that presents an intimate and thought-provoking portrait of girlhood within Manhattan’s exclusive prep-school scene in the early 1990s, and a thoughtful meditation on adolescent obsession and the vulnerability of youth.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.

You All Grow Up and Leave Me Details

TitleYou All Grow Up and Leave Me
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062456595
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Autobiography, Memoir, Mystery, Biography

You All Grow Up and Leave Me Review

  • abby
    January 1, 1970
    There are three things about Piper Weiss that stand out above all else in reading her memoir-slash-true-crime book. First, that she came of age in early 90s New York. Second, that she wasn't Gary Wilensky's ultimate victim. And, third, that she's spent years obsessing over why not. In many ways, this book IS Piper Weiss. You're going to like her or hate her and her book accordingly.The true crime part of the book, which is dwarfed by the memoir portions, focus on Gary Wilensky, a tennis instruct There are three things about Piper Weiss that stand out above all else in reading her memoir-slash-true-crime book. First, that she came of age in early 90s New York. Second, that she wasn't Gary Wilensky's ultimate victim. And, third, that she's spent years obsessing over why not. In many ways, this book IS Piper Weiss. You're going to like her or hate her and her book accordingly.The true crime part of the book, which is dwarfed by the memoir portions, focus on Gary Wilensky, a tennis instructor who taught privileged Manhattan girls while grooming them to become his victims. His students loved him because they felt he was one of them. Not like those other adults-- Gary really understood them. Even the girls' parents were taken in by his spell. Piper's mother, to this day, believes Wilensky gave her daughter free extra tennis lessons on Saturdays because of her talent. "You were so good," her mother says. But, it turns out, Gary Wilensky was so bad. He built a dungeon of horrors in the mountains and tried to abduct one of his former students. The case garnered national media attention.But that victim, the one reporters stalked and chased, desperate for an exclusive quote, was not Piper Weiss. A fact which only awakened a new obsession but in reverse. Piper became obsessed with Gary. Throughout her investigation, Piper pumped authorities for details about herself. Was she one of the girls Gary covertly photographed? Could she get a copy of the photographs? Was she Gary's backup plan? I'm not sure it's fair to say Piper wanted to be a victim, but I do think it appears that way on the surface. Her reactions are in stark contrast to another one of "Gary's girls," who wrote an article for the Washington Post likening her escape of his attentions to "winning the lottery." Piper Weiss is a little less grateful for her "winnings":"The teen he stalked. I don't know what exactly happened to her or what he tried to do, but I know she matters. He picked her and now she matters. Everyone wants to know what she has to say and how she feels because he chose her. She matters and I do not."So why did I like this book? It helps to be a bit of a memoir junkie and to also have an interest true crime. I'd never heard of Gary Wilensky before and don't know that I ever would have if not for this book. He seems to have slipped into true crime obscurity. Weiss is a talented writer and her style is engaging and addictive. Sure, there were times when I thought her memoir was self-indulgent and when she rubbed me the wrong way. But I found the majority of her story to be very compelling. Then there's the fact that so much of my own experiences overlap with Piper's. I'm roughly the same age and the references to fashion and music and the radio station Z100 take me back to the early 90s. This book is strong on the nostalgia. And I was also an "almost victim." I won't go into details, but, like Piper and around the same time she was taking tennis lessons from Wilensky, I was in trust of an adult male who turned out to be grooming girls. And, like her, I was not one of his favorites. But where we differ is that I moved on, quickly at that, as teenagers are prone to do. He disappeared and I never really thought of him again. I am grateful to have not been a favorite.The difference is that Piper Weiss stayed fourteen. And that's what is fascinating about, if not also tragic, her memoir. The past and the present are just mirrors of each other. It also demonstrates how "almost victims" can, in fact, be victims in their own rights, even if they don't feel like they have permission to wear that label. How crime, predatory sex crime most of all, is like the rock dropped in the lake. The ripples stretch out far from the original source, jostling everything in their radius. Those outliers, like Piper Weiss-- we don't usually seek out or hear their stories. Maybe we'd be wise to listen.I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway
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  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    January 1, 1970
    You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for You All Grow Up and Leave Me. I was immediately drawn in by the blurb and cover. The true crime buff in me couldn’t resist this book about a young women’s experience with Gary Wilensky, a child predator who preyed on the young of Manhattan’s elite families in the 1990’s.I have to be honest. This book is a tough one for me to review. There were many things that I really liked about it. For example You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for You All Grow Up and Leave Me. I was immediately drawn in by the blurb and cover. The true crime buff in me couldn’t resist this book about a young women’s experience with Gary Wilensky, a child predator who preyed on the young of Manhattan’s elite families in the 1990’s.I have to be honest. This book is a tough one for me to review. There were many things that I really liked about it. For example, the pacing was steady. I always love books set in Manhattan, particularly in the 1980’s and 90’s. Ms. Weiss author is very open, honest, and introspective. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can bare their soul in the ways that she does. This book provides a very unique look into how a criminal like Wilensky was able victimize a young girl, even as she grew into a woman, despite the fact that she was not his “victim” in the sense that he never physically or sexually assaulted her.Though I appreciated the author’s perspective, and the honesty with which she’s shared it, I must admit that I had some difficulty relating to her feelings and her ongoing preoccupation with Wilensky. The book’s description calls it “highly unsettling”. For me, this is spot-on. There were parts that made me, what I can only describe as, uncomfortable.Based on the blurb, I was expecting to hear more about the actual case. I would have liked to read more about what the police uncovered about him. Although I suppose it’s possible, it’s difficult to believe he hadn’t gone beyond grooming his potential victims prior to the incident that ended with his suicide. I also expected there to be a bit more emphasis on Wilensky’s relationship with the victim know as The Daughter and what the impact to her life has been. The author did note that she requested an interview with her and was turned down.I don’t normally say this about memoirs, or most nonfiction for that matter, but I think this would be an excellent book club selection. It’s one of those that will inspire lively discussion and debate, for sure!3.5/5 starsThanks to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ellen Gail
    January 1, 1970
    For me, the life and death of Gary Wilensky took place over one year, the same period my own mind became the most dangerous it has ever been. At some point both our stories nearly overlapped, though not entirely and certainly not neatly. 2.5 stars. This strange true crime memoir is going to polarize a lot of people I think.Tennis was very on trend in the 90s. It was the chic thing to do, particularly if you were a well off Upper East-Sider. And in the early 90s, Piper Weiss was just that. At 14 For me, the life and death of Gary Wilensky took place over one year, the same period my own mind became the most dangerous it has ever been. At some point both our stories nearly overlapped, though not entirely and certainly not neatly. 2.5 stars. This strange true crime memoir is going to polarize a lot of people I think.Tennis was very on trend in the 90s. It was the chic thing to do, particularly if you were a well off Upper East-Sider. And in the early 90s, Piper Weiss was just that. At 14 she was training with Gary Wilensky, the premier private tennis coach, known for his ridiculous antics and prizes he offered to his students.But in the spring of 1993, Gary Wilensky would become known for something else.New York Times, April 1993"Grampa Gary" had another side his teenage pupils hadn't seen. 56 year old Wilensky attacked one of his 17 year old students and her mother with a cattle prod, intending on bringing the object of his obsession to a remote cabin he had filled with bondage, porn, and unspeakable nightmares. The newspapers would call it a "Cabin of Horrors."For all of his meticulous preparation, he wasn't prepared for his target to fight back. There would be NO taking either of these women anywhere.Just hours after his failure, with the police close behind him, Wilensky shot and killed himself in a parking lot. And just like that, the world knew what he really was; a predator.But for 14 year old Weiss, she knew Gary as someone else. How could funny, goofy Gary be the same person? How could he do this to a girl he claimed was one of his favorites?And the question that nags her still 20 years later - why not her? There is a study that claims the teenage brain develops at the rate of a baby's brain - which is to say, the fastest rate it will ever grow. The difference the second time around is that you are both physically mobile and mentally more aware. You know that something is happening within you but not within your control. This is your new body, you're told, but don't touch it. Don't use it yet. It's dangerous. You All Grow Up and Leave Me is perhaps more memoir than true crime. Wilensky's actions are secondary to the turmoil of a teenage mind. Weiss's youth was troubled to put it simply, and in her tennis coach she found someone who understood her, who treated her like an adult and not just and angsty teen. Gary understood her depression, her need for validation. She found someone who was grooming her, though of course she couldn't understand this at the time.So why not her? She was in his car plenty of times. He frequently gave his students rides home from practice.How do you deal with being an "almost victim" of someone you thought the world of?This is what You All Grow Up and Leave Me does well. It's very relatable, that sense of what could have happened, of how close you were to something you may have never known could've harmed you. When you look back, everything is tinted with the muck of almost, even what seemed harmless and fun. (whatever the opposite of rose colored glasses is I guess? dark sunglasses maybe?)Unfortunately, what didn't work for me was the writing. And when you don't like the writing it's very difficult to like the book as a whole. It's very much a love it or hate it thing. Abby comes down on the positive side, so if you want to read a review that liked this more than me, head that direction!That sense of adolescent directionlessness is very present. It feels at times like it's wandering, which might be the point? Weiss was set adrift, both by her dangerous and problematic teenage years, and by her relationship with Wilensky. Unfortunately, this lack of focus and power made it difficult for me to really get 100% immersed in the story.Overall, I don't know if I'd recommend this one or not. There's a great and extremely personal story being told within the pages. The true-crime elements are tastefully done. But it's really a tossup as to whether you'll like the writing and the way the chapters are structured. By all means, don't let my mild dislike / ambivalence turn you away. If you think you'd like this one, give it a shot, especially if you like your true crime to have a personal touch.*All quotations are from a digital arc and are subject to change in the finished copy*Thanks to William Morrow and Edelweiss for the drc!
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  • Eve
    January 1, 1970
    "Stalking is how some men raise the stakes when women don't play along. It is a crime of power, control, and intimidation, very similar to date rape." —Gavin de Becker, The Gift of FearThis was a really interesting book, and one that got me through my long flight(s) back home from Ireland. I'm honestly not sure how to rate it; I keep oscillating between 3 and 4 stars because it wasn't what I expected it to be, but it was actually quite good. It would have been good to know that this is really a "Stalking is how some men raise the stakes when women don't play along. It is a crime of power, control, and intimidation, very similar to date rape." —Gavin de Becker, The Gift of FearThis was a really interesting book, and one that got me through my long flight(s) back home from Ireland. I'm honestly not sure how to rate it; I keep oscillating between 3 and 4 stars because it wasn't what I expected it to be, but it was actually quite good. It would have been good to know that this is really a coming of age memoir about a Jewish Upper Eastside teenager growing up in the early 90s. Private schools, wealth, privilege. It's such an unknown world to me, and it almost always fascinates me. What I was expecting was a true crime read...and it sort of is, I guess. Weiss's tennis coach was a man with many issues—mainly that he was obsessed with pubescent children, and his rampage made national headlines when he attempted to kidnap one of his students. What made for compelling reading was the author's awkward teenage years, and the milieu and social anxieties that shaped her. This memoir was written like a journalistic piece, but was aimed inwardly at the author, while she tried to sort out the person that she thought she knew and admired, and what he was ultimately portrayed to be. What does that make me, if I didn't hate him or wasn't afraid of him? What if I genuinely liked him?"We look to survivors of trauma for personal insight into ourselves. We read their books, watch their network interviews, and try to isolate what it takes to overcome the unthinkable to survive...".
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    When finishing You All Grow Up and Leave Me, I was reminded of a twenty-five year-old review by the late, great critic Roger Ebert for the somewhat-forgotten movie Backbeat.Ebert took issue with the film - about bassist Stu Sutcliffe, who he described as "a painter who was almost a Beatle" - because it "could make a good movie, but only if the story pulled its own weight, and didn't hitch a ride on the Beatles legend." He further referenced an old theater joke - that the actor playing the graved When finishing You All Grow Up and Leave Me, I was reminded of a twenty-five year-old review by the late, great critic Roger Ebert for the somewhat-forgotten movie Backbeat.Ebert took issue with the film - about bassist Stu Sutcliffe, who he described as "a painter who was almost a Beatle" - because it "could make a good movie, but only if the story pulled its own weight, and didn't hitch a ride on the Beatles legend." He further referenced an old theater joke - that the actor playing the gravedigger in Hamlet thinks the story revolves around him when describing his role - which dovetails with Stanislavski's "there are no small parts, only small actors" quip.With Weiss' You All Grow Up and Leave Me - a coming-of-age memoir with a dash of true crime - I can see that some readers will think she's too much an "almost" in the true crime part.Yes, she may not have been the intended or actual victim - during a 1993 assault / attempted kidnapping of a teenager by a tennis instructor - but Weiss does an exemplary and unsettling job showing how close, or hiding in plain sight, danger and evil can be to (mostly) unassuming kids.What was just as good, if not even better or more memorable, were Weiss' non-nostalgic teenage memories of simply growing up and attending prep school in New York City. (Her fluid relationship with her mother - the other major character in the book - is also a large part of the narrative.) When she detailed some of her experiences - and she had a nice, direct way in describing a scene that a reader is right there alongside her - it felt like I was teenager back in high school. (Ugh.) I mean, she captured the awkward state of being an American adolescent to an uncomfortable degree.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this. Don't go on expecting a detailed true crime story, though you do hear some details of that towards the end. It's really a teenage coming of age memoir, seen through the lens of the year the author spent being coached by a man who ended up trying to abduct another student and then killing himself. While I can't identify with Piper Weiss's rich, prep school, New York City childhood, I still found this incredibly relatable, between her turbulent teenage inner life and her messy I really liked this. Don't go on expecting a detailed true crime story, though you do hear some details of that towards the end. It's really a teenage coming of age memoir, seen through the lens of the year the author spent being coached by a man who ended up trying to abduct another student and then killing himself. While I can't identify with Piper Weiss's rich, prep school, New York City childhood, I still found this incredibly relatable, between her turbulent teenage inner life and her messy adult life, with her complicated feelings about men and their approval. Weiss struggles to figure out how she should view her relationship with her coach, and grapples with the question of why, even now, she wonders why *she* wasn't the favorite student he focused his unhealthy obsession on. Would recommend to anyone who likes memoirs or dark tales of obsession.
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  • Tess Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    1- You All Grow Up and Leave Me is not a true crime novel. About 90% of the book is Piper Weiss’s meandering memories about growing up rich in 1990’s Manhattan. It’s hard to follow because there is no timeline to speak of. This "memoir" is just a collection random moments of her life and feelings she felt and penises she saw. Most of the book has absolutely nothing to with Gary Wilensky, the tennis instructor who attacked and attempted to kidnap one of his teenage students (not Weiss) and subseq 1- You All Grow Up and Leave Me is not a true crime novel. About 90% of the book is Piper Weiss’s meandering memories about growing up rich in 1990’s Manhattan. It’s hard to follow because there is no timeline to speak of. This "memoir" is just a collection random moments of her life and feelings she felt and penises she saw. Most of the book has absolutely nothing to with Gary Wilensky, the tennis instructor who attacked and attempted to kidnap one of his teenage students (not Weiss) and subsequently killed himself. The parts that do are just the author remembering all the times she rode shotgun in his car. It’s incredibly boring. The book is crippled by self-importance and filler, and the writing is pretty bad in a high school creative writing class kind of way.I have a hard time understanding why this is a book at all, or why readers should care about this woman. It feels like Weiss wanted to write a book about herself, and used a tragic event enacted by someone she knew as an excuse for why her life is interesting. But none of this was interesting. Weiss didn't have anything to do with Wilensky’s unfortunate actions. She was not a victim. She’s just trying to put herself in the middle of something that has nothing to do with her. It’s exploitive in the most self-centered way.
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    Really interesting. A combination memoir and true crime investigation, this book is about the author's 1990s-era relationship with Gary, a tennis instructor who was later accused of being obsessed with his tween and teen students and plotting to kidnap one of them.She looks back at that time in her life and reflects on what it's like to be a girl exploring her independence, identity as a woman and sexuality. She also researches and reflects on Gary and the case. It's a fascinating story of how k Really interesting. A combination memoir and true crime investigation, this book is about the author's 1990s-era relationship with Gary, a tennis instructor who was later accused of being obsessed with his tween and teen students and plotting to kidnap one of them.She looks back at that time in her life and reflects on what it's like to be a girl exploring her independence, identity as a woman and sexuality. She also researches and reflects on Gary and the case. It's a fascinating story of how kids in their teens and tweens are particularly vulnerable to predators. It's a case study on how sexual predators groom and stalk their victims.The writing is impressive and interesting. The story is disturbing and compelling.More thoughts soon. But if you like memoir, definitely check this out.Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    An absorbing memoir/true crime read about Piper Weiss's life intersecting with Gary Wilensky. Wilensky earned her trust, as well as her family's, but it was through this grooming behavior that allowed him to then pursue further attempts at relationships with his young clients. His attempts to capture and seduce one of his students went terribly wrong, which led Wilensky to end his life, and Weiss's book is an attempt to not only explore who he was and what drew him to behave this way, but it's a An absorbing memoir/true crime read about Piper Weiss's life intersecting with Gary Wilensky. Wilensky earned her trust, as well as her family's, but it was through this grooming behavior that allowed him to then pursue further attempts at relationships with his young clients. His attempts to capture and seduce one of his students went terribly wrong, which led Wilensky to end his life, and Weiss's book is an attempt to not only explore who he was and what drew him to behave this way, but it's also a look at how being a teenage girl is a land mine of men like Wilensky. Weiss is privileged and well-off in Manhattan, with access to so much, yet a man like him was able to gain her trust, her parents trust, and the trust of so many others like her. This is an exploration of why not her, and yet, why her at the same time. It's a book about the way adults groom and earn the trust of young victims, about the ways that those advances can be brushed aside and ignored. It's hard to say much more. Weiss is, by all accounts, as average as someone with her status could be, and her experiences with Wilensky are as a victim without being "the" victim. In a lot of ways, this makes her story relatable and something so many women will identify with. The audiobook for this was great. Brittany Pressley gives a great performance and offers up just enough intonation to give more depth to the book itself -- her voice sounds like a teen girl, on the cusp of adulthood, and here, it works perfectly.
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  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. "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 fi 3.5 stars. "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.
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "The onus is on us to change, be better, be less like who we are. We're at fault for caving to our impulses and encouraged to steer ourselves toward more calculated decisions. Once we called this pursuit purity; now we call it evolving."Thank you, Goodreads for an advanced copy of this book. Opinion is my own!I will start this off by saying that judging someones life in book form is never easy. This is someones life in your hands. They felt comfortable enough to share their story and we are judg "The onus is on us to change, be better, be less like who we are. We're at fault for caving to our impulses and encouraged to steer ourselves toward more calculated decisions. Once we called this pursuit purity; now we call it evolving."Thank you, Goodreads for an advanced copy of this book. Opinion is my own!I will start this off by saying that judging someones life in book form is never easy. This is someones life in your hands. They felt comfortable enough to share their story and we are judging them word for word. The synopsis trapped me. Prep school tellings really aren't my thing, it was the dark undertone that got me.Pipers story isn't that different from a lot of others. She was rich, went to an upscale school, and had private tennis tutoring two days a week. She drank, she smoked and broke rules just like other kids. The only thing that stands out from her life is her tennis instructor was a sick and twisted man. Throughout the entire book, Piper comes off as whiny and a tad bit confusing. She kept repeating why wasn't she the favorite? Even after she found out what her tennis coach had done to countless others, she still wanted to be his number one. It just leaves you disgusted and shaking your head. I felt that the reason why she wanted to write this book because she is an obsessed woman still living in a fantasy world. She highly wants to be liked and that was a huge turn off from the start.Sad to say, but the highlight of this tale was the story of Gary and how he deceived his way into peoples lives. I wish the book was more about him and his sick fascination but instead, we settle for a tale of wanting to be everyones number one. Thanks, but no thanks! Bye, girl, bye!!
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    This has a great tone--slightly off-kilter, slightly overheated, all-too-subjective--that means it merits that Megan Abbott blurb. In fact, it does feel like the origin of a Megan Abbott novel, but that's the problem. This has the bare bones of a story, but it needs someone to put flesh on it, and Weiss can't quite... in part because a recurring point of her story is that it's not her story and as such has to be a little bit slight. I respect the ambition and the craft, but ultimately, this feel This has a great tone--slightly off-kilter, slightly overheated, all-too-subjective--that means it merits that Megan Abbott blurb. In fact, it does feel like the origin of a Megan Abbott novel, but that's the problem. This has the bare bones of a story, but it needs someone to put flesh on it, and Weiss can't quite... in part because a recurring point of her story is that it's not her story and as such has to be a little bit slight. I respect the ambition and the craft, but ultimately, this feels like too much of a memoir to merit its true crime plunge. There's a low-level cringe factor after a while to Weiss recounting how she feels about having not been the victim of a sensationalized, high-profile crime; in the wrong light, it's a grotesque kind of name-dropping. "Did you know I could have been kidnapped by my tennis instructor? It's true!"Weiss doesn't hit that point, because she's too intelligent and too empathetic, but she keeps running up against the problem of this kind of voyeuristic account. She's telling the story of Gary Wilensky, her prestigious New York tennis instructor who became obsessed with one of his students and stalked her before attempting to kidnap her and take her to a remote cabin he'd already equipped in the most skin-crawling way possible. She digs into Wilensky's damaged psychology and makes him a complex, chilling figure, and she evokes very well the strange feeling of being jealous of not being the one who attracted his attention. But she can't get an interview with Wilensky's victim, which means that the book is an endless circling around her own feelings--about Wilensky, about her childhood, about class, about sex--without a strong enough pull back to the reality of the crime.I'd be happy to read more Weiss, but in the end, there was just something off-putting to me about writing a whole book about how you felt about something that happened to someone else; even though the strangeness of doing that is part of the point, I don't think the effect is strong enough. This would have made a hell of an essay, though.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    I love memoirs and I find true crime fascinating so I immediately wanted to read this book and be on the TLC Book Tour even though I only had a vague recollection of the Gary Wilensky case. I was in my late twenties, across the country, and focused on other things when in 1993, Wilensky attempted to kidnap a seventeen-year-old former tennis student and when he failed, killed himself. I had little in common with New York's Upper East Side teens and their lifestyles and private schools and tennis I love memoirs and I find true crime fascinating so I immediately wanted to read this book and be on the TLC Book Tour even though I only had a vague recollection of the Gary Wilensky case. I was in my late twenties, across the country, and focused on other things when in 1993, Wilensky attempted to kidnap a seventeen-year-old former tennis student and when he failed, killed himself. I had little in common with New York's Upper East Side teens and their lifestyles and private schools and tennis coaches. Piper Weiss, however, was in the middle of it all, a fourteen-year-old student of "Grandpa Gary" who was confused reconciling that Gary with the friend, mentor, and one of the few "adult allies" in her life. Also confusing for her--both then and today, are her feelings of being let down, that she wasn't the focus of Gary's so-called love. You All Grow Up and Leave Me vacillates primarily between 1992-93 and 2014-16 and Weiss paints a picture of growing up on the Upper East Side where many people including Weiss's mother believes is the "safe" part of New York City. With prep schools and privilege and parents focused on getting their children the best help to stand out and be successful, it seems all to easy for Gary Wilensky to insinuate himself into society and become a successful tennis coach. Because of word of mouth and his own marketing skills, no one looked closely at his background and parents gave him access, often too much, to their daughters. It wasn't until his obsession with one of "Gary's Girls" made her uncomfortable that his behavior escalated into dangerous. Piper Weiss does a good job of building Gary's background and history--although I wouldn't have minded more information on him and the actual crime. I found myself pulling up some of the articles the Weiss mentioned to learn more, but really this story is Piper's--at least in this book. Piper's story is both relatable and not. While her personality, family, and lifestyle were very different from mine, I think most anyone who is or was a teenage girl has had that feeling of not quite fitting in, being judged--by yourself, your friends, the boys you like, and wanting to be special and to be loved. I found myself at times both wanting to hug her and give her a shake. Both she and Gary Wilensky had (in her case, still has) their obsessions, but his came out in a chilling attempted crime and death by his own hand, while Weiss exorcises her demons by seeking to understand them and writing about them. She writes honestly, often poignantly, sometimes darkly humorous, and in a way that is a bit unsettling--the memoir-leaning parts are a bit like looking into a teenager's diary and seeing more than you might have wanted to. This book won't be for everyone, but I think it could lead to some interesting discussion. I found it unique and compelling and well worth reading. You can see my review as well as a recipe inspired by the book on my blog post here: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/20...Note: A review copy of "The Wild Inside" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the copy! Check out my blog for more about the author.This book is first and foremost a memoir. There is then a blending with true crime to make for an intriguing story. YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME by Piper Weiss is about Gary Wilensky and the crimes he committed from the perspective of one of his former students.I had never heard of Gary Wilensky and the horrible things he had done to some of his students. The fact there’s a “Cabin of Horrors” at Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the copy! Check out my blog for more about the author.This book is first and foremost a memoir. There is then a blending with true crime to make for an intriguing story. YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME by Piper Weiss is about Gary Wilensky and the crimes he committed from the perspective of one of his former students.I had never heard of Gary Wilensky and the horrible things he had done to some of his students. The fact there’s a “Cabin of Horrors” attached to his name and crimes was eerie enough. After reading through Weiss’ memoir, I went and looked up more info on the case – true crime will always fascinate me. This was an account of Piper coming to terms with why she hadn’t be selected as one of his victims.It is absolutely incredible to me how these predators can lead seemingly normal lives. They can be trusted mentors and teachers without anyone being suspicious of their motives. The fact that Piper was almost upset and confused as to why her cherished mentor didn’t select her just shows how charming and deceptive these predators can be.It always seems weird to rate someone’s story when it comes to a memoir. I really enjoyed the writing and the true crime aspects. The research is there and I learned a lot of Gary Wilensky and his victims. Having the emotional commentary and POV from Piper added to the overall feel of the book. If you’re looking for some nonfiction to add to the TBR and enjoy true crime, then I would highly recommend picking this one up!I give this 4/5 stars!
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Although this book tackles the obsession of tennis coach Gary Wilensky for the teen girls he coached, it also deals with the author's feelings about him and about his crime. Wilensky coached several girls who attended exclusive schools in New York City, often charming his charges with his playfulness and how he let them get away with breaking little rules set by parents or society. The girls loved him because he was funny and gave them treats even while making tennis fun. But as the book shows, Although this book tackles the obsession of tennis coach Gary Wilensky for the teen girls he coached, it also deals with the author's feelings about him and about his crime. Wilensky coached several girls who attended exclusive schools in New York City, often charming his charges with his playfulness and how he let them get away with breaking little rules set by parents or society. The girls loved him because he was funny and gave them treats even while making tennis fun. But as the book shows, there was another side to Gary, one that he kept hidden from everyone around him. Readers looking for the definitive answer as to why he behaved as he did and whether his actions ever moved from grooming his victims to something illegal other than his attempt at kidnapping one girl won't find that answer here. Instead, the author has combed through articles, interviews, and conducted her own research into the matter as well as reflecting back on how it felt to be one of Gary's girls since she herself was coached by him for a period. Thus, while the purpose for the book might have been to shed light on Gary's crime and the attraction he had for others, ultimately, the book becomes a form of therapy for its author as she recalls her transition from girlhood to adolescence and her need to feel loved and to feel special. This is not easy reading because of its subject matter and because of its honesty and the very rawness of someone admitting that she still wonders why she wasn't chosen when Gary selected his victim. If nothing else, it sheds light on what makes certain girls vulnerable to the attentions of someone like Gary and serves as something of a cautionary tale. I was impressed with the writing and how the author told this story, alternating chapters between Gary or "the man," as she dubs him, and "the girl" or herself. Once again, the glimpses into a life of privilege and the difference between what someone shows in public and what he/she feels deep inside are stark. Although this book disturbed me, I'm glad I read it, and I can see it prompting much discussion for a number of reasons.
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  • Shaun
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway."You All Grow Up and Leave Me" is part memoir, part true crime. It's an interesting look into the world of New York private school and private coaching from the perspective of one of those students. The writing style took a bit to get used to. Each chapter was like a snippet from a news article and/or diary. As the reader gets further into the book, it's easier to read and actually becomes quite a page turner and be I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway."You All Grow Up and Leave Me" is part memoir, part true crime. It's an interesting look into the world of New York private school and private coaching from the perspective of one of those students. The writing style took a bit to get used to. Each chapter was like a snippet from a news article and/or diary. As the reader gets further into the book, it's easier to read and actually becomes quite a page turner and becomes much more personal and introspective. Weiss does a good job of leading the reader with some pieces of foreshadowing and building the suspense throughout. I knew nothing about the case of her tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, so it was all new to me.Overall, definitely recommend the book to true crime fans, fans of coming of age memoirs, and memoirs in general.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Memoirs, by design, are self-centered. They are the memoirist's version of the truth. You All Grow Up and Leave Me is a difficult read. This is not because of its coverage of a child predator but because of the author’s tone. There is no doubt that Weiss is aware of her privilege and she is certainly entitled to tell her truth. Yet still, linking her coming of age to hebephile Gary Wilensky feels inappropriate and selfish. Weiss explains her attachment to Wilinsky and honors the victims and thei Memoirs, by design, are self-centered. They are the memoirist's version of the truth. You All Grow Up and Leave Me is a difficult read. This is not because of its coverage of a child predator but because of the author’s tone. There is no doubt that Weiss is aware of her privilege and she is certainly entitled to tell her truth. Yet still, linking her coming of age to hebephile Gary Wilensky feels inappropriate and selfish. Weiss explains her attachment to Wilinsky and honors the victims and their privacy in her writhing but it’s difficult not to feel as though she is inserting herself into something that she should not.
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  • Dorothy
    January 1, 1970
    True crime written by an 'almost victim'. Author had close relationship with a man who turned out to be a sadistic pedophile, who killed himself just as the truth about his nature was being revealed. Weiss has spent the last 20 some years reflecting on what impact the man's duplicitous nature had on her, both when he coached her during her early teen years, and after his death. Wrenchingly honest and eye-opening.
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  • Maggie
    January 1, 1970
    This book was incredibly well-written, unique, and poignant. The coming-of-age story was painfully real, the true crime eerie and woven in with just enough horror. Several passages struck me as particularly powerful--I might have to go back and find all of the best moments and underline/dog-ear them just to come back and re-read them a few more times. Overall, awesome. One of the most interesting books I've read in a while.
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  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone should read this! In 1993 Tennis Instructor Gary Wilensky attempted to kidnap a young student he became obsessed with. During the police chase he killed himself. They found an isolated cabin in the woods where he planned to take her. Piper Weiss was his student at a Manhattan New York prep school. The novel,a memoir of a young girl coming of age in the 90's. A confused teenager who cuts herself to release the pain. An honest retelling that is stunning. A haunting look at her relationshi Everyone should read this! In 1993 Tennis Instructor Gary Wilensky attempted to kidnap a young student he became obsessed with. During the police chase he killed himself. They found an isolated cabin in the woods where he planned to take her. Piper Weiss was his student at a Manhattan New York prep school. The novel,a memoir of a young girl coming of age in the 90's. A confused teenager who cuts herself to release the pain. An honest retelling that is stunning. A haunting look at her relationship with Wilensky and the fact that even years later she had a hard time excepting that he was delusional. A dangerous look at obsession. Wilensky was so charming that the very thought of him doing harm to any of the girls never came to mind. The parents loved him. The girls loved him striving to be his favorite. The title You All Grow Up and Leave Me was what Wilensky had said. Everyone should read this novel. From the publisher for my honest reviewDawnny/BookGypsyNovels N LatteBook Blog
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  • Stephanie Mills
    January 1, 1970
    WOW! This is a great book! I love a great book that can get the emotions/ feelings going and this is one! Many tears and opened eyes.
  • Kirsten
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fascinating mix of true crime and memoir. It’s essential reading for those who want to understand the way predatory coaches operate, and why their charges in some cases defend them even after their actions are revealed.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    When 2018 is almost over and everyone is making their “Best of” lists, I am 98% sure this will be my favorite book to come out this year. Holy cow.
  • Samantha Osborne
    January 1, 1970
    i liked it a lot it was a interesting read i received this for a honest review
  • Jamie Canaves
    January 1, 1970
    Coming of Age Memoir + True Crime Memoir/true crime has become a favorite read for me. When done well it really allows for an exploration of the impact of crimes with an emotional component that usually focuses more on the victims. In this case, this is very much a memoir about a woman coming to terms with her teen years when she was a student of a fun, larger-than life tennis instructor who turned out to be a predator. If you don’t actually know the crime, or about Gary Wilensky, you don’t lear Coming of Age Memoir + True Crime Memoir/true crime has become a favorite read for me. When done well it really allows for an exploration of the impact of crimes with an emotional component that usually focuses more on the victims. In this case, this is very much a memoir about a woman coming to terms with her teen years when she was a student of a fun, larger-than life tennis instructor who turned out to be a predator. If you don’t actually know the crime, or about Gary Wilensky, you don’t learn about what happened until the end of the book. Instead we see how easily a predator was able to teach the children of New York’s elite. We watch now realizing that all the fun games, and his ability to let the girls feel not judged and like adults in his presence, was not because he was cool. Weiss is a great writer–I highlighted so many sentences about being a teen girl, the kind I usually find in Megan Abbott’s work–that really brings to life a very specific time when female tennis players were becoming stars and shows the very complicated emotions, and damage predators leave behind.--from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter: http://link.bookriot.com/view/56a8200...
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  • Kevin M
    January 1, 1970
    I heard about this book as a sort of blending of memoir and true-crime. Let me dissuade anyone who thinks the same: this is not a true-crime book. In 15 minutes of google-ing Gary Wylenski, you can know more about the case than is presented here.What it is actually about could have been interesting: growing up in a private Manhattan prep-school among New York's rich and famous, all while dealing with the growing pains that accompany being a teenage girl (not to mention being Jewish in WASP-ville I heard about this book as a sort of blending of memoir and true-crime. Let me dissuade anyone who thinks the same: this is not a true-crime book. In 15 minutes of google-ing Gary Wylenski, you can know more about the case than is presented here.What it is actually about could have been interesting: growing up in a private Manhattan prep-school among New York's rich and famous, all while dealing with the growing pains that accompany being a teenage girl (not to mention being Jewish in WASP-ville). Where it goes wrong is in trying to shoe-horn in the Gary subplot. She seems to have put a lot of research into the facts of his life, even reaching out to the "Daughter", the person Gary did end up stalking, trying to kidnap, and beating severely. In a sliver of self-reflection she realizes after the second time trying to ask the Daughter for an interview, that she has no right to her story, to make her relive it. And then she wrote this book. The disconnect is astounding.Even more disturbing is the central theme of her entire work: why wasn't it me? Why was I not the one he obsessed over, photographed, stalked, prepared to abduct and rape/restrain/abuse, and ultimately beat in a parking lot.All this and I haven't mentioned the confusing structure, jumping around at random between her own recollections and the pieces of Gary's life she witnessed/researched, and forwards and backwards through time with no appreciable focus.This book would have been more appropriate if kept between the author and her therapist. I do not mean this as a jibe, the central theme is not healthy, and I hope she moves past this part of her life.
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  • Lindsay Hunter
    January 1, 1970
    This put into words so much I have never been able to about being a teenage girl. So good.
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book, but I was pleasantly surprised how well written and engrossing it was. The only complaint I have is that I didn't really like the back-and-forth between the 1990s and present day. I found myself skimming through the more recent sections and looking forward to the next 1990s section.
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    Best book I’ve read in the past year
  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    Throughout the book, Piper Weiss self-deprecatingly refers to herself as "stunted," and while she seems to hope that people will assure her that that isn't the case, I'm inclined to agree with her.As a fellow UES prep school survivor of a similar age (go Cardinals!), I was interested in the coming of age aspect as well as the true crime aspect. (I was also curious to see if I could figure out which school she attended. I put the clues together and think I've figured it out.) What I didn't realiz Throughout the book, Piper Weiss self-deprecatingly refers to herself as "stunted," and while she seems to hope that people will assure her that that isn't the case, I'm inclined to agree with her.As a fellow UES prep school survivor of a similar age (go Cardinals!), I was interested in the coming of age aspect as well as the true crime aspect. (I was also curious to see if I could figure out which school she attended. I put the clues together and think I've figured it out.) What I didn't realize, though, was that Weiss wasn't directly involved in the crimes described in this book. The summary suggests that Wilensky singled her out for special treatment. She was at best on their periphery of these events, treated identically to all of his students at the time. The information she presents about Wilensky is certainly interesting, but I kept finding myself distracted by her incessant derailing of the true crime narrative to analyze herself. Which in turn made me wonder - what was Weiss's motivation for writing this book? Did she want to write a book about herself, but felt it would seem narcissistic or self-important to merely write an autobiography? She spends a few sentences here and there lamenting how her life isn't as exciting or fulfilling as she'd hoped; did inserting herself into these events in a more significant way than she had been make her feel more interesting? Is she averting a midlife crisis by trying to relive her teen years? This is what makes her feel stunted - rather than simply recounting events, she comes across as still bragging about her teen privilege and still absorbed in past high school drama, which she recounts with wildly swinging moods and emotions that don't seem present at all when discussing her present life.The problem with combining true crime and coming of age autobiography is that it seems it would be difficult to write without making it seem as though you're making a horrific crime all about you, and Weiss, for me, falls directly into that trap. It's also hard to keep from thinking "This girl was almost abducted, almost certainly to be raped, possibly killed, but you expect me to feel sorry for you because your friends ditched you twenty years ago?" It's a decent effort and an interesting enough book, but Weiss is so off-putting that it's hard to stay engaged. Perhaps if she'd stuck to telling her own story, as a memoir of mental illness or a simple coming of age story, instead of appropriating someone else's trauma to make herself seem more interesting, it might have been a smoother read for me. Her former boyfriend insists that Wilensky and Daughter's story is also hers, but nothing about her retelling suggests to me that this is the case. At most she was an onlooker, pouting because she wasn't Wilensky's "chosen one," even now, knowing what was to come.Three stars because the writing isn't terrible and parts are quite interesting.I got a free proof of this book through Goodreads.
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