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The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski [Hardcover]

Samantha Geimer

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Book Description

Sept. 17 2013
In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, “the girl” at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual thirty-five-year silence to tell her story and reflect on the events of that day and their lifelong repercussions.

March 1977, Southern California. Roman Polanski drives a rented Mercedes along Mulholland Drive to Jack Nicholson’s house. Sitting next to him is an aspiring actress, Samantha Geimer, recently arrived from York, Pennsylvania. She is thirteen years old.

The undisputed facts of what happened in the following hours appear in the court record: Polanski spent hours taking pictures of Samantha—on a deck overlooking the Hollywood Hills, on a kitchen counter, topless in a Jacuzzi. Wine and Quaaludes were consumed, balance and innocence were lost, and a young girl’s life was altered forever—eternally cast as a background player in her own story.

For months on end, the Polanski case dominated the media in the United States and abroad. But even with the extensive coverage, much about that day—and the girl at the center of it all—remains a mystery. Just about everyone had an opinion about the renowned director and the girl he was accused of drugging and raping. Who was the predator? Who was the prey? Was the girl an innocent victim or a cunning Lolita artfully directed by her ambitious stage mother? How could the criminal justice system have failed all the parties concerned in such a spectacular fashion? Once Polanski fled the country, what became of Samantha, the young girl forever associated with one of Hollywood’s most notorious episodes? Samantha, as much as Polanski, has been a fugitive since the events of that night more than thirty years ago.

Taking us far beyond the headlines, The Girl reveals a thirteen-year-old who was simultaneously wise beyond her years and yet terribly vulnerable. By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (Sept. 17 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476716838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476716831
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“[The Girl] might be the most important and valuable book of the century so far…an emotional rollercoaster…smart and articulate….Geimer puts complicated thoughts out there, alongside her anger, not because she’s too damaged to think clearly but because she can’t bear the world’s oversimplification….Her voice is strong.” (The Guardian)

“This book is a total surprise. After decades of hearing about ‘the Roman Polanski rape case’ via third-hand reporting and ossified assumptions, here is the startlingly fresh, personal account from the young woman who lived through it, only to be set upon by the American legal system. Witty, snarky -- but also precise and thoughtfully observant not only about herself but also the mores and culture of a very different time -- Samantha Geimer is a reflective guide as she humanely tells of a complex violation that hurt but didn't defeat her." (Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us)

"[Geimer] is able to channel the bewilderment she felt while in Mr. Polanski’s company, and the terror that came later." (The New York Times)

“Her explosive account... is at once a tabloidy page-turner, and a thoughtful memoir.” (Time Magazine)

“An astonishingly well-written, engaging book that is admirably subtle in its depiction of events… Her prose is lucid and compelling. The memoir, which winds its way through the painful vilification of her mother by the press, and a spectacular failure of the legal system, is masterfully clear-eyed.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

"A feisty, almost jaunty you’re not the boss of me account of a really awful thing and its long aftermath... The lively, pugnacious narrative voice manages to sound simultaneously like a provocative kid and a wised-up adult." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Disarmingly honest and intensely personal, The Girl is a fascinating memoir: the absence of self-pity and frankness with which it is told is as shocking as the story itself." (Portia de Rossi, author of the New York Times bestseller Unbearable Lightness)

"Sex, youth, and power have always fueled Hollywood and, as this book proves, never with more combustible results than in the story of Roman and Samantha. The Girl is a pleasure to read." (Joe Eszterhas, New York Times bestselling author of American Rhapsody and Hollywood Animal)

About the Author

Samantha Geimer is married and has three sons. She divides her time between Hawaii and Nevada.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No interest in playing the victim Sept. 27 2013
By Tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Internationally famous film director, Roman Polanski, was arrested in Los Angeles in 1977 for raping a thirteen-year-old girl during an alleged photo shoot after feeding her alcohol and a sedative. He was forty-three at the time. Polanski fled to France prior to sentencing. The director, and his victim, Samantha Gailey Geimer, have been hounded by the event ever since.

Geimer has now come forward with her take on the crime, the circus-like legal proceedings, and a life lived under the oppressive shadow of the infamous assault. She fights against being forever defined as Polanski's "victim" and sees this book as an opportunity to confront the accumulated lies and misinformation surrounding the incident and its aftermath on her own terms. Geimer, now a married mother of three children, holds her head high. As she points out, society needs to rethink why we require victims of abuse to live in a perpetual state of shame when it wasn't their fault. Bravo, Ms. Geimer!

The Girl was written with the assistance of ghostwriter, Judith Newman, but Geimer's voice comes through loud and clear. Highly recommended.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other side of Polanski rape story, honest and without any desire for revenge... Sept. 17 2013
By Denis Vukosav - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Girl" by Samantha Geimer is book about the most famous rape case of all times that still cause controversy, and for which Roman Polanski was accused.

The author tells us her story what happened in the March of 1977, and all the things that happened afterwards including the case which was never closed due to Roman Polanski exile to Europe from where he never returned to the USA in fear of imprisonment.

This book reviewed again if she provoked the events that ended with rape or she willingly participated in all that happened. And due to the fact that she never got satisfaction from legal system Samantha decided to break her silence and tell her story completely, with all the details.

Even the reader who is already familiar with the story will certainly learn some new facts that will give a little more light on what happened that days and after.
But maybe some readers will be disappointed to see that this isn't mostly book about rape and its consequences but more a story about media and all that happened in Samantha's life due to the rape charge that prevented her to lead normal life.

Her story is honest and she isn't revengeful telling her story about the time and place that created perfect scene for such unfortunate event to occur.
So, it's a bit strange to see that she isn't angry at Roman Polanski but at legal system and media who destroyed her life continuously questioning the authenticity of her story. It seems that after all happenings she only wanted some privacy although it's questionable why she however decided to tell this story in details?

Samantha's book is also interesting from the point of view of one thirteen year old girl who found herself in situation that she couldn't handle, in age when body and mind aren't at the same stage of development.

And although I thought I know lot about this case, mostly from Polanski side of course, it was interesting to hear her side of story.
I should be honest and say that reader shouldn't expect some masterpiece of this book, but will receive an interesting confession about the one of the famous crime cases that still causes division between those who are for one side or the other, claiming that the other distorts the truth or use popularity to protect itself.

Therefore I could recommend you to read Samantha's book at least to hear her side of the story...
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was blown away by this book Sept. 19 2013
By Writergirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The case of Roman Polanski and the 13-year-old girl that he raped 30 years ago was something that haunted a lot of people--especially since we never did hear from "the girl." It took Samantha Geimer three decades to tell her story, and all the conflicting emotions of WHY it took so long come through loud and clear in "The Girl." Let me just say, it was worth the wait. I could not put this book down. What's amazing about the writing--Geimer had a superb co-author in Judith Newman, whose work I always loved--is that you really feel like you're in the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl. A 13-year-old girl in the loosy-goosy times of Hollywood, circa the mid to late 70s, who was not only raped by Polanski, in Jack Nicholson's house (natch), but raped by the media. And yet, three decades later, can look back on what happened to her with staggering poise and honesty and riveting detail, and without a scintilla of victim-y self absorption. I was in high school when this story broke and it has always haunted me. What's most disturbing is that, 30 years later, powerful revered men still are treated differently when they do horrific s*** like this. But again, what makes this book so powerful is that it isn't preachy, it isn't self-serving. It is, quite simply, a phenomenal read.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Would you like the craziest thing that ever happened to you as a teenager broadcast?" Sept. 17 2013
By Amelia Gremelspacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is Samantha " wanting to take ownership of my own story." At thirteen, she went with Roman Polanski to his home where he drugged her and raped her." Now in 2013, she is fifty and he is eighty. Still the world has not forgotten, and he is still under prosecution, this book is in no sensationalist. In fact, I would say the writing is so focused on an attempt for unvarnished truth as to be too blunt and and everyday.

Samantha does not take the role of the sweet be spoiled girl. She freely admits she was a surly teen with a common desire to be part of the "cool set". She had been inclined to let her experience with Polanski go too far because she believed, like many others, " that fame made you good." In the same tone she considers that Polanski had had a horrendous life which she feels may have twisted him.

But Samantha also clearly states she was raped. The political and cultural imprint of those times leading even through to today is explored at length. While I cannot commend the writing as exceptional, I can say this woman has endeavor ed in impressive degree to be honest and insightful. This book in many ways is a morality tale of our times, and as such, deserves consideration.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Sept. 24 2013
By Penny Thoughtful - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am impressed by Geimer's incredible clarity and bravery about how an awful experience can become even more awful when a lot of people pay attention to it. Great writing, very thoughtful and candid. I wish the author and her family all the best.
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