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You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession
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You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,853 ratings  ·  275 reviews
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
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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 ·  1,853 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

You All Grow Up And Leave Me popped up on the library’s Recommended To You feature due to me reading I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – a book I didn’t much care for at all, if the truth be told . . . .

Save your breath. I get it. I read it wrong and McNamara was not only a genius, but also this close to DNA swabbing the perp herself and solving the whole shebang. Whatever. I didn’t like it. I still downloaded this book, however, because .
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
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
Ellen Gail
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
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"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 Fear

This 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
Tess Taylor
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
Valerity (Val)
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, abuse
This was a strange memoir about a 14-year-old who is taking tennis lessons from a man who is popular but troubled. She becomes close to him during a quiet moment when he confesses to her that he’s depressed and she shares that she is too. She tries to comfort him by saying she loves him and won’t grow up and leave him like the rest of his tennis students.

She has no way of knowing of his obsession with another student of his, and how he’ll be in the news because of it in the near future. It will
Krystin Rachel
Book Blog | Bookstagram

Opening Crime: Bondage Cabin in the Woods
Main Psychopath: Toss-up between the pervert and the author
Plot Truthy-ness: Dear Diary…

This is the weirdest “true crime” novel I’ve ever read.

First, because it’s mostly a memoir about someone who was not involved in any crime at all. And second, because the crime is an attempted crime. Spoiler alert, I guess? While I’m sure it was traumatizing for the women involved, in the context of a true-crime novel, nothing happened that could
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This read fell firmly into the “wanted to like it more than I did” category for me. It hits some content I generally find quite high interest (true crime, rich people problems, and the adolescent psyche) but it struggled to hold my interest. That’s not to say that there isn’t some excellent writing here. There are some super incisive moments (I’m thinking the section on cutting, the analysis of Weiss’ relationship with her mother in the latter half of the book). Generally, I think this memoir st ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
I had never heard of this Gary the tennis pro obsessed with teenage girls and it happened when I was a teenager. Where the hell was i? Simply fascinating but I stopping myself from rating it higher just because I liked the narrator so much she was perfect
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Kevin M
Feb 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Stay Fetters
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
"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
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 ...more
Jen Ryland
Mar 03, 2018 added it
Shelves: memoir
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
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction, 2018
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
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
"I have always believed my failure to be a main character, the heroine, the object of desire, makes me, by default, the villain. But Feste proved a third option. The Fool is off to the side, but always onstage."

3.5 Stars

This was a bit more memoir than true crime. Piper Weiss grew up in New York City's Upper East Side in the 90's. She took private tennis lessons from Gary Wilenski. A man who would later attempt to kidnap one of his young female students and kill himself when the attempt failed. P
Lady Alexandrine
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
It was an interesting read! "You All Grow Up and Leave Me" is a memoir written with rough honesty. Piper Weiss doesn't hold anything back and doesn't mince words, that's for sure. The book concentrates on the author's experience as a young girl when she was trained by a tennis teacher that later turned out to be a dangerous sexual predator. He intended to hurt terribly another girl, but fortunately his plans came to nothing. Surprisingly, the author's experiences from this time are positive. She ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-publishers
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
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Christina McLain
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a meditative memoir which combines the horror of true crime with the everyday agonies Weiss endured as a lonely and somewhat troubled teenager growing up in New York City's affluent Upper East Side in the early 90's. Weiss, who was very small for her age and Jewish, felt she didn't belong at her prestigious Wasp private school. She had suffered ftom anxiety from an early age and believed she didn't measure up to her popular older sister and her classmates, who were often high achievers o ...more
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 ...more
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, ...more
This is a unique book, one that is simultaneously growing-up memoir and true crime, written in sensory, almost lyrical words.

It's a look not only into a bizarre crime but also a cloistered world of wealth and privilege few of us will ever see. (I had to Google "Tiffany bean necklace," to use but one small example.)
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, arc, true-crime
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. ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
2.5 - You All Grow Up and Leave Me is marketed as a memoir meets true crime book about a woman who was an “almost victim” of her tennis coach who ended up attempting to kidnap another one of his students. The synopsis of this book sounded so interesting to me, but it was just so boring.

Most of the memoir segments aren’t even about Piper and her interactions with her tennis coach. So much of it is just meandering, navel-gazing memories of school, parties, and friendship. I suppose this was meant
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