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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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Profile Image for Timothy McCarthy
  • Timothy McCarthy
  • 12-11-19

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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  • Assaka115
  • 08-08-19

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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  • kschales74
  • 16-12-19

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
  • 26-12-19

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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  • Chris
  • 20-11-19

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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  • ZA_Lizzy
  • 03-01-21

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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  • linda marshall
  • 17-12-19

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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  • Nic
  • 30-09-19

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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  • Dawnielle C.
  • 18-01-22

A Tragic Tale for so many

The Girls is the tragic tale of so many girls that were prey to a monster doctor. So much of this story is so hard to hear, but it is so well written. As a mom to three girls, one of which is in competitive dancing at age 7, I could relate to the parents involved in the Larry Nassar case. The courage of these girls, that spoke up and told their story to help protect future generations must be applauded. This should, perhaps, be required reading for all parents.

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  • JustMyOpinion
  • 28-10-21

Empowering

Empowering, encouraging, powerful, eye-opening book. Great read all around. Audio was very good.True crime tale with a wonderful ending.