The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski Hardcover – Sep 17 2013
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“[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.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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...
The best thing about Ms Geimer's story is she is not afraid to speak her mind or blowing the lid off the victim industry. She was expected, as she put it, to don the "rape girl costume" time and time again, as the story hit the media. The courts turned the trial of Roman Polanski into a circus. The media and the courts would not allow Samantha to just move on. People wanted "justice" for Samantha, but they did not give her what she truly wanted, which was to let go and move on. No wonder she rebelled against the victim industry and the courts, and criticized man of them in her book.
Samantha calls Nancy Grace a "blonde vampire that eats misery for breakfast," and Dr. Phil is called a "drama vulture." Samantha criticizes the courts for violating the deal she agreed to regarding Polanski. In doing so, people accused her of being a Polanski sympathizer. She is not. In this book, Samantha is trying to illustrate the impact the constant media barrage had on her own life. Samantha was not the one who had trouble letting go, it was we, the people.
It is our own lust and desire for these salacious stories that keeps many people in perpetual victimhood. There is a "victim industry" out there, full of people like Nancy Grace or Dr. Phil, looking to profit from the misery of others. We claim it is "raising awareness" but instead we are demanding people stay victims. We NEED victims to stay victims.
This book came out just before Elizabeth Smart's book. The difference between the two books is striking. Samantha has moved on, Elizabeth seemingly has not, though it seemed for a while she would. The difference in philosophy between the two women is also striking. Samantha did grow up in a different era and a different culture. But Samantha comes out the stronger one because she would not play the "good victim." When I look at the two books and I see how both ended up and what they are doing with their lives, I ask myself, who ended up better? The woman who refused to play the victim role and moved on, or the one running a foundation with her overbearing father and unable to move on. The answer should be obvious.
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 uses 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.
That's not to say the rape didn't devastate her; she was vilified by Polanski's defense team and painted as a scheming Lolita who invited his attention, and by his Old World view, somehow invited the attack. And she was exposed to the media anyway, so she never got to keep the hard-fought peace and privacy she needed to heal. Geimer wrote this book to set the record straight long after her identity was revealed. I don't believe she was cashing in, or exploiting Polanski's celebrity, because everything she's done up until now has been done to avoid the public eye. She is a tough, smart woman who simply refuses to give her attacker the power to ruin her life. And she knows she has nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of.
I read The Girl after seeing Marina Zenovich's recent documentary (a thought-provoking film) on the case and the attempt by the U.S. government to extradite Polanski and force him to stand trial for the rape more than thirty years after the fact. Geimer didn't support or condone this extradition attempt; the original judge in the case had agreed on a plea bargain for psychiatric evaluation and time served for Polanski, then reneged on the deal because he feared public backlash for being too lenient to a child rapist. Geimer and her family and legal team had embraced and, in fact, initiated, the original deal so they would not have to go through the ordeal of a trial. It's a complex case, regardless of whether you believe Polanski got off too lightly for a pretty heinous act, and regardless of whether he showed enough contrition after the fact. Geimer didn't want a seventy-something year-old man to possibly go to jail for the rest of his life when she herself had moved on. This brought criticism of HER by the talking heads of the American media (like Nancy Grace) who thought she wasn't being a good enough victim. She didn't supply the correct preconceived sound bites that would have made the news stories mesh nicely with their opinions of the case.
I can go on and on, but I should let Ms. Geimer tell her remarkable story herself. I wholly recommend The Girl and have nothing but admiration for the woman she became. I didn't exactly come away from this story feeling as if all the loose ends of justice have been tied together, but I came away happy for Geimer for whatever happiness and self-knowledge she has achieved in a very difficult life.