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The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,094 ratings  ·  213 reviews
The inside story of how serial predator Larry Nassar got away with abusing hundreds of gymnasts for decades -- and how a team of brave women banded together to bring him down.

We think of Larry Nassar as the despicable sexual predator of Olympic gymnasts -- but there is an astonishing, untold story. For decades, in a small-town gym in Michigan, he honed his manipulations on
Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Seal Press
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,094 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Start your review of The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down
Elyse  Walters
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook... read by Elizabeth Rogers

Larry Nassar: YOU F#CK#N ASSHOLE!!!!

There ... I had my say!!

I had no idea about the depths of this story - not to the extent we learn in this book.

A few things to know...
...The Audiobook-listener connection works!!! The ‘sleepy-drifty-mind-doesn’t happen. You’ll be present/very awake!

The nightmare graphics we learn about Larry Creepy Nassar is disgusting.
There ‘are’ inappropriate sexual graphic descriptions....around ‘
the ‘treatment’.
The doctor p
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A powerful must-read.

Like the girls in this book, I was a Nassar patient and unknowing victim for 15 years of my life, beginning when I was 12 years old. I, too, was impressed and fooled by the treatment room walls covered with photos of Olympic gymnasts who had written notes like “We love you, Larry!” in metallic sharpie next to their smiling faces and shiny medals. My mind goes back to those photos—his trophies—whenever I think of the abuse I endured at Michigan State Sports Medicine. I was co
Scott Rhee
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the main benefits (solely for rapists and sexual abusers of any stripe) of living in a rape culture is the phenomenon which enables abusers to convince their victims that what is being perpetrated upon their person is not a crime or abuse but is, in fact, beneficial to them in some way. It helps when these victims are children, and it is especially effective when the abusers have the support of the community, including the victims’ parents.

As ludicrous as this sounds, this actually happen
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know where to start - - having grown up in this area of the country, it could have easily been me. I can attest to how safe I felt growing up in the Lansing area. I spent undergrad and law school years at MSU. And to not know this was going on gives me the absolute chills. I went to high school with one of these courageous women but had no idea that she was going through this personal hell. Larissa, you are strong and smart and a wonderful person. You and the rest of your sister survivor ...more
Maureen O'Hara Pesta
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Abigail Pesta worked with these girls and women to give them a voice, and they placed their full trust in her. The stories follow the experiences of survivors through many years, helping the reader to understand the complexities of abuse and the many different routes to recovery. The stories also reveal the red flags that should alert parents and anyone who works with children to the presence of a predator.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been following Abigail Pesta for years now; she writes for magazines about women's rights, people fighting back against injustice, and many inspiring topics. So I was really excited to read her book about the Larry Nassar scandal, and this book did not disappoint! Pesta writes about the many, many young girls, mostly aspiring gymnasts, who were abused by Nassar over the years. And she also gives you an amazing sense of how the system failed these girls, and how the world of gymnastics made ...more
Neelam Babul
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thought-provoking and eye-opening book!!!!

Abigail Pesta writes about young girls, mostly aspiring to be professional gymnasts, who were abused by Larry Nassar over the years. She also provides an incredible narrative on how the system failed to protect these girls, and how the world of gymnastics paved the way for someone like Larry Nasser to prey on these innocent victims.

Pesta interviewed about 25 different survivors, not just famous or well-known gymnasts but the girls who get overlooked b
Summer Reading Challenge 20/27
Stranger than fiction - “Read a nonfiction book published this year.”

Just going to give a quick review even though I feel like I could write a whole essay on this book. I don’t think I have quite the eloquence to do that so I’ll just say, excellent book. It is so well written even though it is an absolutely horrendous story. It made me so angry but also so proud of the women who came forward and fought to take this terrible man down. Definitely worth the read.
Jane Z
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book is extremely eye-opening and insightful about how this outrage unfolded, year after year. I have been following this case, but I had no idea how all of this happened until I read this book. There are so many powerful lessons here. Everyone should read it. A tremendous thank you to the women who told their stories. Their ultimate triumph over evil is inspiring.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about the horrendous abuse Larry Nassar perpetrated on American women gymnasts and other elite athletes. Some of the details are graphic, but serve to highlight the depths and depravity of his abuse. Recommended reading if you want to learn how these brave women overcame their fears and sent this monster to prison—for life.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Couldn't put down. Wanted to punch something after reading these accounts. ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
30 years. Over 200 testified in victim impact statements in court. 499 total victims. Larry Nassar left quite a trail. 25 victims have helped in the writing of this book. So when I say the book was repetitive, it is in no way a reflection on the author. It is sadly repetitive with different victims, different lives over 30 long years at different athletics institutions. Unforgivable.
Rachel Wisehart
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Finished this and now I can breathe again.
Unbelievable that this abuse went on for DECADES to hundreds of girls.
It went unnoticed and multiple times IGNORED.
A hard read but I am amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Horrible story of Larry Nassar and just some of the girls he abused while serving as a volunteer doctor for USA Gymnastics and a Michigan university.
Amber K
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Couldn't put it down. I hope every parent and child reads this book. ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such an important but horrifying read.
Paul Ataua
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘The Girls” is the story of Larry Nasser, the Olympic gymnast predator, and his downfall at the hands of his victims. I always find myself attracted to books like this just when I’m just starting to regain my belief in humankind. It covers the story of the ‘events’ without going into any psychological depth, which is just about right, but I was left wondering not only how someone could do this, which is the obvious first response, but also how come there were so many people over so many years wh ...more
Alycia Muller
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everybody. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to punch something while reading this book. The number of times girls were ignored or silenced when they spoke up is unreal and made me furious. We need to all learn more about how this happened so that we don't let it happen again. ...more
Ken K
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful book, very well written and engaging. Highly recommend to all athletes and families.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a well written and powerful book. I couldn't put it down. I had no idea about what really happened here until I read these women's stories. Wow. This guy was diabolical, but the women ultimately WON. ...more
Morgan Wilson
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This book was hard, emotional, and terrifying, but it needs to be read. I don't know how to adequately review it except to say that it takes a great amount of bravery for these women and girls to stand up and share what they have. I'm proud of these survivors. ...more
Anne S
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about what the gymnasts went through in regards to their trainers and also Larry Nasser. It shows the underbelly of what most Americans would consider to be a clean sport. The outside world may think that the girls are young and so cute but so did predators who used that to the predator's advantage!

I was appalled by the lack of help the girls' received when they told their stories to the people they thought would protect them--the coaches, MSU, the police department, all failed th
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Extremely difficult subject matter, but such an important read. If you've followed the Nassar case in any capacity and ever found yourself wondering how his abuse spanned decades unnoticed and unchallenged, I urge you to read this book so you will understand. From the isolating and abusive culture of elite gymnastics itself, to this monster's mastered manipulation and grooming techniques that earned him the trust of nearly all of his victims and their coaches and families even after the allegati ...more
Joan McGraw
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well Done, Ms. Pesta!

Fascinating detailed recounting of the wide-reaching damage done by Larry Nasser. Quick, definitely not easy or fun to read, but worth living through and standing with Nasser's victim. Not sure I'd EVER allow a daughter--or son--to take up gymnastics after reading this detailed account of the dynamics of predator behavior and its outrageous toll on the predator's victims.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well-written story of how this predator evolved and how the girls he preyed on grew up and took him down. There are many voices in this book telling very personal stories, and the author guides you through them artfully, telling the story chronologically to create an engaging and insightful account. A must-read for parents, athletes, coaches, teachers, police and anyone who knows a kid!
Douglas Erickson
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Devastating the quantity of horrible episodes 1000s if not 10s of thousands. The powerful, successful, rich taking advantage of the vulnerable. Vulnerable in this case aspiring young gymnasts driven to succeed at all costs.

The many questions of how one could be so "successful" for more than 30 years, thanks for a peek into this Abigail Pesta.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an extremely insightful and beautifully written story of how all of this insanity happened. The stories these women shared are incredible and so personal. Their courage is amazing. Everyone needs to read this book to stop this from happening again.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shocking and not shocking at the same time. We need to teach children that it is alright to question adults, authorities, the famous and the powerful. I am sure there are still many Larrys out in the wild. Let's hope that this case serves as a wake-up call for the parents and authorities. ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful must-read book. Beautifully written. Could not put it down.
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Abigail Pesta is an award-winning journalist and author who has lived and worked around the world, from New York to London to Hong Kong. She is the author of THE GIRLS, which the Library Journal said "may be the most important sports title of the year." In an episode based on the book, Dr. Phil called it "a courageous, courageous book." She is the coauthor of HOW DARE THE SUN RISE, which The New Y ...more

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