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The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski Hardcover – Sep 17 2013

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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: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #275,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“[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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 71 reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
No interest in playing the victim Sept. 27 2013
By Tom - Published on
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 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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not the "good victim" Dec 29 2013
By D. Logue - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Far too often, books written about or by someone who has experienced some form of sexual abuse and has been in the media are stereotypical books where the writer paints herself as "pure" and "innocent" while the perpetrator is a "monster." What is wrong with that, you ask? The problem is those books actually perpetuate the stereotype of the sex offender as a mysterious, unfeeling, and unknown stranger. In doing so, we ignore the fact that most abuse occurs in the home, and not by random strangers.

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.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I was blown away by this book Sept. 19 2013
By Writergirl - Published on
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.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The other side of Polanski rape story, honest and without any desire for revenge... Sept. 17 2013
By Denis Vukosav - Published on
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...
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
"Would you like the craziest thing that ever happened to you as a teenager broadcast?" Sept. 17 2013
By Amelia Gremelspacher - Published on
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.