• The Girls

  • An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down
  • By: Abigail Pesta
  • Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 generations of aspiring gymnasts. Kids from the neighborhood. Girls with hopes of a college scholarship. Athletes and parents with a dream. In The Girls, these brave women for the first time describe Nassar's increasingly bold predations through the years, recount their warning calls unheeded, and demonstrate their resiliency in the face of a nightmare. 

The Girls is a profound exploration of trust, ambition, betrayal, and self-discovery. Award-winning journalist Abigail Pesta unveils this deeply reported narrative at a time when the nation is wrestling with the implications of the MeToo movement. How do the women who grew up with Nassar reconcile the monster in the news with the man they once trusted? In The Girls, we learn that their answers to that wrenching question are as rich, insightful, and varied as the human experience itself.
 

©2019 Abigail Pesta (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Abigail Pesta's The Girls is a riveting, angering, un-put-down-able and ultimately triumphant story. With new information at every turn, this impeccably reported, eloquent narrative provides stunning insights into the saga of the most prolific sexual predator in sports history. An unforgettable book, which only a woman could write with the nuance, depth, and compassion it deserves." (Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us and The News Sorority)

"Like no one else writing today, Abigail Pesta penetrates deep into the anguish of people, particularly women, who are caught in seemingly hopeless situations, when nobody will listen to them. In The Girls, Pesta details the incredible untold stories of how dozens of teenage gymnasts, after decades of abuse by a trusted doctor, finally break through his small army of powerful protectors and send him to jail for at least one hundred years." (Paul Steiger, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and founding editor of ProPublica)

"Deeply personal, powerful, and filled with stunning new insights into the Nassar scandal, this gripping narrative grabs you by the heart and leaves you cheering for these courageous women who felled a beast." (Joanna Coles, executive producer of The Bold Type, author of Love Rules, and director, Snap)

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Don’t waste a credit

It is neither a readable true crime story nor any other kind of coherent narrative. It is fragmented; a loosely assembled pile unorganized quotes, opinions, and facts; seriously lacks the objectivity of true investigative reporting—just an opportunistic writer exploiting the tired, low hanging fruit that is the Nassar matter. Many factual errors too.

7 people found this helpful

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A must read!!

This ugly tragedy played out in my hone town. It is told in a poignant and matter of fact way, that really bring the massive scope of the Nassar scandal down to a personal level. I hope all will read, and learn, from this. Very well written.

5 people found this helpful

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great but heart wrenching

trigger if you're an abuse survivor , be prepared. The stories are very powerful.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RM
  • 12-26-19

gtreat read!

this was captivating right from the beginning. however, it was hard listening to the abuse that took place and difficult to listen to the end of the book. (the dr. obviously is a very sick man.)
my heart goes out to each of these girls. my prayers for healing from the emotional pain and sexual abuse.

may parents everywhere be on the alert for predators lurking in the most unlikely places. may we, as a society, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

This book is very well done telling the story of the wonderful girls. My heart breaks for them all.

2 people found this helpful

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Captivating.

I’ve heard, read and watched inserts of Larry Nash before, but never quite understood the devastating impact his actions had on these poor girls. Let alone the number of girls whom he actually abused.

A well told recollection of what a sick monster did to innocent little girls and the trauma he left in his wake. The damage he’s done and some, if not all of them still suffer from to this day.

I got a bit bored closer to the end of the book but stuck it through and finished the book.

Well worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Every parent needs to hear this story!

This spellbinding story of the brave Women who shared their heart wrenching truth about a mastermind sexual predator is magnificent and insightful. All parents need to learn about the grooming process predators use so they don’t fall into the same trap as nassar victims.

This is very much like the “Leaving Netherland”, Michael jackson story of sexual abuse and his grooming of his victims!

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing Story

So moving, inspiring and informative. I can now move forward with my daughter, in this sport, with their strength-warnings-and courage.

1 person found this helpful

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Athletes aren’t disposable.

I started coaching gymnastics at the age of 16. With Covid, a primary immunodeficiency, and turning 60, I’ve retired from coaching. I’ve always been at smaller gyms with fewer girls on team where larger gyms would have an entire team of Level 9s, we would have 1-2. Never have I ever been so strict as to push a girl to work with an injury or use conditioning as punishment. Conditioning is a part of training to be respected. With experience, you can tell if a girl is scared vs injured and address it. You can’t take away from her teammates, but if something hurts and they don’t want to do it, give them ice and a plan.
I’ve been at meets where I could not believe what was coming out of the mouths of some coaches or how “rough” they could be. They were in it to win it, and only 1st place was good enough.
I had no idea how “mean” Geddart was to his gymnasts and now I know why he was being investigated. It’s sad he committed suicide, but he would have been joining Nassar in prison.
USAG seems to have gone the other way to make up for decades of mistakes. Guilty until proven innocent, suspending first, suspending for something that happened 30-40 years ago with the me too movement. You don’t know what is true anymore. There are jobs within the organization nobody wants!
The kids we coach are in it to be the best they can be. They have goals we can help them reach. I’ve told them I can make you as good as you want to be. They are individuals and need to be treated as such. I’ve seen a lot of gym hopping over the years. Parents want the best when they know their child has a chance at the big times. The girls are willing to do anything to be as good as the best at their gym. They want to please their coaches. This sets up a situation of overtraining, injury, and burnout. Build them up. Don’t tear them down.
Seems like making the national team and staying on it, young girls were subjected to questionable tactics, all because it produced medals. If you didn’t keep up, there were plenty of other talented girls to take your place. Our kids aren’t disposable.

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Important Story, but book needed more editing

I enjoyed the narrator’s voice, each of the girls’ stories were important and inspiring. As a therapist, I felt the author did a good job of explaining necessary information regarding the psychological impacts of (childhood) sexual abuse. The editing piece - there were several pieces that seemed redundant in a way that felt the author didn’t realize they’d already conveyed the info. Other than that, I’m glad I listened!