Piper Weiss’ memoir YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME (WilliamMorrow) comes at a time when child molestation and child predators are in the news. Recently, Dr. Larry Nassar, physician to the USA Gymnastics Team faced 156 young female gymnasts, who claimed her molested them, in a courtroom. Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years. It wasn’t long ago, that the Jerry Sandusky molestation case at Penn State University was in the news.
In YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME, it was the 90s, when Piper Weiss was fourteen-years-old and her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, attempted to kidnap one of his other 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. He was different from other adults and treated Piper like a grown-up, taking her to dinners, engaging in long intimate conversations, and sending her special valentines. As reporters swarmed her private community in the wake of Wilensky’s crime, 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.
YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME has one of the most chilling openings. It’s horrifying to know it’s happening to children all across America, at this very minutes.
She appeared in the Independent Spirit Award-winning film, Without.
She recently wrote this for Hazlitt.
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