Release Date: April 10, 2018 (William Morrow/HarperCollins)
A highly unsettling blend of true crime and coming-of-age memoir—The Stranger Besides 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, 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, was different from other adults—he 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. Combining research, interviews, and personal records, You All Grow Up and Leave Me explores the psychological manipulation of 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.
“Between an enthralling true-crime story of a middle-aged tennis coach’s fixation on young girls, Piper Weiss has smuggled in a tender, introspective, and beautifully written coming-of-age memoir of the Upper East Side in the early 1990s, with its warehouse parties, Park Avenue protocols, and family warfare. You All Grow Up and Leave Me is as much about the disturbing pathology of its tabloid subject as the universal pain and longing of adolescence regardless of setting; the ‘teenage obsession’ here brilliantly cuts both ways.”
— Teddy Wayne, bestselling author of Loner
“You All Grow Up and Leave Me is unflinching, rich and revelatory, not just about its twin subjects—the true crime at the heart of the book and the wrenching coming-of-age story that surrounds it—but about the dangers, fragility and piercing beauty of girlhood itself.”
— Megan Abbott, bestselling author of You Will Know Me
“Exquisitely captures the constantly shifting terrain of adolescence and the complicated—sometimes dangerous—politics of relationships between adults and teenagers . . . You All Grow Up and Leave Me is a compulsively readable and beautifully crafted book.” — Kristen Radtke, author of Imagine Wanting Only This
“There’s a true crime story at the heart of this memoir—and a deeply disturbing one at that. But You All Grow Up and Leave Me is also a haunting, evocative, and thoroughly immersive tale that details the thrill and terror of growing up. I loved it.” — Alison Gaylin, bestselling author of If I Die Tonight
“There’s a fine line between obsessions that shape us, and obsessions that veer into dangerous territory. In You All Grow Up and Leave Me, Piper Weiss shows how they overlap with a reporter’s eye and a poet’s heart.” — Michele Filgate, writer and Contributing Editor at Literary Hub
"Weiss has crafted a dark and brooding yet brisk and eloquently written memoir, and her vivid coming-of-age narration shines a spotlight on the precarious relationship between teenagers and adults and everything that can go awry in between." —Kirkus Review (Full review here.)