April 17th is a big release day! What better way to kick it off than with a book tour?
Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME – Piper Weiss (out now!)
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.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
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!
About the Author:
Piper Weiss has served as editor in chief at Levo, editorial director for HelloGiggles, and features editor for the New York Daily News and Yahoo. She is the author of the book My Mom, Style Icon and has written for various publications, including Hazlitt, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Elle.com, and Refinery29. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Where to Purchase a Copy: