• 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 (157 ratings)

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The Girls  By  cover art

The Girls

By: Abigail Pesta
Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers
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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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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great but heart wrenching

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

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

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

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2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Awfully Repetitive

I’ve followed this case from the beginning, and very disappointed in this book. The stories are awfully repetitive and nothing new. It’s a very important subject but this book fell short at doing it any justice.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but redundant and tedious at times

It’s a hard story to tell and this book honors the story of the victims. Unfortunately, the story of the victims is the same story over and over because Nassar figured out what worked and did it with each victim. The author’s style of introducing a victim’s story and then telling you she will finish it later gets a bit tedious. She interviews 25 victims. The number of stories and the jumping between them makes it hard to follow at times. It is great that this was a place to give a voice to the victims that didn’t have to big names so that their stories could be heard also.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but…

The book was good, but the author has a habit of adding things like ‘as we’ll hear later when we return to her story’ which were not only unnecessary but very distracting after the first few times.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but becomes repetitive after a while

This book is about more than Nasser; it looks into the destructive and abusive coaching in the gymnastics world that I didn’t know existed. I shed light on how a predator like Nasser could exist there. Yet, I stopped with about an hour left I the book because it seam to be just rehashing the idea of strong survivors and not covering any new territory. No doubt these women are strong survivors but the repetitive commentary of the author on the point is uninteresting and feels like the books should have ended earlier.

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1 person found this helpful