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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 repercussionsIn 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 repercussionsMarch 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 uaaludes 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 storyFor 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 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


10 thoughts on “The Girl A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski

  1. says:

    Much as I like Rosemary's Baby and I can sympathize with Roman Polanski over the heinous murder of his wife Sharon Tate as a person he's just another one of those degenerates who can only get away with what he's done because he's famous You can bet your life that your average Joe who did this to a minor wouldn't draw up such polarizing controversy In all fairness to Polanski we don't know the full story However child abuse and sexual abuse are crimes plain and simple It doesn't matter if you live among the classy bohemian socialites or not Samantha Geimer takes a bold step forward as the girl who has both inspired and angered people for years As a child she was taken advantage of by Polanski Some of her writing is brutally disturbing and stuff nobody should ever have to endure It was sad to find though that she seems to partially believe it was her fault and that she still holds Polanski in high regard However to the reviewers judging her for this it's not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to be torn between hating and loving their abuser The Girl also has some very unsettling and poignant things to say about our culture and legal system If I had to choose between reliving the rape or the grand jury testimony I would choose the rape I think it's also about time we as a society stop letting these people get away with crime simply because they're celebrities The way we romanticize celebrity affairs as somehow enigmatic and strangely beautiful is something that people like Samantha Geimer definitely don't benefit from No it was not forbidden love No it was not just the free love era No even if you enjoy his films it's still no reason to defend his actions The Girl shares a maddening mentality of somebody psychologically damaged not just by the rape itself but by their own internalized attitude of I deserved it I'd actually sort of be interested to read what Polanski's view on this relationship is I don't think this kind of thing occurs in a bubble and it would be intriguing to understand why he did this and if he even had any regard for the impact it would have on Samantha's life With the recent Bill Cosby scandal it seems that these incidents bring up many uestions than answers


  2. says:

    Find all of my reviews at 1977 people have speculated about what really happened to “The Girl” Roman Polanski took to Jack Nicholson’s house Was she a willing participant? Did her mother hand to over in order to advance her ownher husband’sher daughter’s career? Was Polanski a predator who focused on young girls? Thirty five years after that fateful trip up Mulholland Drive Samantha Geimer “The Girl” finally tells the story in her own wordsThat voyeuristic part that resides inside me has always been fascinated by this story I mean a man who has spent my entire life in exile has to be guilty right? On the other hand a girl who has never spoken out about her experience might have been a pawn in the situation and set up to be Polanski’s “Lolita” Geimer does an excellent job breaking her silence In her own words “We’ve all done something in our lives we regret something that is stupid; or something awful and stupid is done to us For 90 percent of these situations there comes a time when you need to let it go – unless you don’t want to And then in a sense it’s your problem” With the years so far removed the happiness she has found in her adult life and the punishment Polanski has endured from the court of public opinion Geimer has been left with the ability to tell her story in a very matter of fact way And what a story it is – still completely horrifyingfascinating I couldn’t put it down And what a remarkable woman Geimer has become Although very much an innocent party to this entire ordeal say what you want about the motherothers involved at 13 Geimer was a CHILD and Polanski a 43 year old man who should have known better she never plays a “woe is me” card in this novel She sticks to the facts maintaining her belief that Polanski’s punishment at the time of the rape was sufficient is candid about the rough road she took through her remaining childhood and finally tells of how she was able to heal and move on As she says “The word victim comes from the Latin word meaning the person or animal sacrificed for some religious purpose Over time it’s developed to mean a person who suffers from an accident or incident that leaves them injured and compromised in some way I imagine it must be terrible to be a victim”


  3. says:

    Samantha Geimer is incredibly brave and I admire her so much for telling her story and reclaiming her voice after having it so repeatedly taken from her over the yearsHowever I was disturbed to read the moments in which she slips into victim blaming judging the veracity of other survivors and employing some of the same arguments it was a different lenient time; sometimes things are just misunderstandings; maybe they're coming forward for the publicity etc that were used against her Internalized victim blaming is a very real thing and I have so much sympathy for that but I cannot accept her judgments on other survivorsShe also becomes very prescriptive towards the end I would never ever judge the way she chooses to think about or cope with her own situation and if has forgiven her perpetrator or let the experiences go whatever that means to her; there are a lot of different things that could mean then there is nothing at all wrong with that and I am glad that those are meaningful choices which allow her to feel at peace with what happened But she doesn't get to say that this is what everyone should do that people who are still angry at their assaulters or feel that their trauma has fundamentally altered their perception of their selves and their lives are somehow behaving wrongly No one not even a fellow survivor can decide what healing means


  4. says:

    I loved many of Roman Polanski's early movies Chinatown is still my all time favorite movie I was 22 in 1977 and remember all of the horrible things about Roman Polanski's raping a 13 year old girl fleeing the country and all of the many years this continued on in the news And I always wondered about The Girl It seemed to me that Roman got off easy living a high lifestyle in his various mansions around Europe and still able to make all the movies he wanted I wondered about all of this for a very long time and over the years forgot about it When I saw this book had been released I got a copy as soon as I could and read it in one day Was Samantha's life forever affected by this one awful event? Yes but not in the way you'd think The rape itself was nowhere near as traumatic a thing compared to what she has gone through for the last 35 years with the media's non stop hounding of her and her family This is a sad and awful story but ultimately forgiving and redeeming Thank you Samantha for finally sharing your story I hope you now have peace in your life


  5. says:

    I could not wait to read this book due to my long complicated imaginary relationship with Roman Polanski I can't remember which came first in a chicken or egg way did I read Helter Skelter first I think I was in tenth grade or see a picture of Polanski in US Weekly or Newsweek the two magazines my parents subscribed to in the early 80s both of which were a formative part of my growing up and seeing how cute he was no kidding; his tiny elfin foreignness was like catnip to my teenage self go backward and read his memoir then HS? I know I read his memoir in high school too Back then I was probably even jealous of Samantha Geimer as horrible as it sounds; I thought she was lucky to get attention from him and the way he explained it in his book sounded way consensual than the facts I even took a uarter of Polish in college because of Roman PolanskiAs many years have passed and I've grown up and gotten some sense my thoughts have on this have changed But I was also one of those people who blamed Geimer's mother as much as if not than Polanski What kind of idiot lets her teenage daughter have a photo session ALONE with a middle aged man? Of course this European man whose mother died in a concentration camp and whose pregnant wife was killed by the Manson Family is dead inside and decadent and again European where the cliche says it's okay to fuck little girls The Aesop's Fable of the scorpion and the frog comes to mind This book and the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski Wanted and Desired has changed my opinion again When Samantha Geimer details her rape by Polanski it is clear that it is not consensual at all; she is no Lolita She is a naive teen using lies and bravado to seem mature than her years and finding herself in a situation where her no's aren't heard and she has no choice but to disassociate from her body and hope it's over uickly Her mother is not some scheming pimpstage mother but is also trusting How could a famous respected director be a bad person? and is full of anger regret and guilt once she realizes what has happened to her daughter In the aftermath of the rape and prosecution Geimer's life is reminiscent of the Jodie FosterCherie Currie movie Foxes a whirl of sex drinking and drugs It's the classic seventies teenage nightmare and it's also a innocent and decadent time than we live in todayGeimer clearly doesn't want to see herself as a victim at least not of Polanski After many dark years she has made a happy life for herself in Hawaii A lot of readers may even be angry with her for not excoriating her rapist but she refuses while saying what he did was wrong She does however paint herself as a victim of the press and the justice system The case was bungled by a media obsessed judge whose rud change of mind led Polanski to flee rather than be sentenced to up to 50 years in jail after a plea deal had been worked out by the prosecution and the defense Since then every time he has been in the news for winning an Academy Award or being arrested in Switzerland in 2009 after a zealous Los Angeles district attorney tried to stir things up again Geimer's house has been stalked and surrounded by reporters who clamor for a sound bite or opinion Nancy Grace and Phil McGraw those vultures of crime have both tried to lure her to their horrible shows The back third of the book bogs down in Geimer's railing against justice and the media and is only enlivened with the inclusion of a note written to her by Polanski in 2009 in which he apologizes and takes full responsibility for his actions I wish Geimer well and I hope people remember that she is allowed to feel about this any way she wants It is HER storyA follow up documentary detailing the Switzerland arrest is soon to debut on Showtime I can't wait


  6. says:

    Wow just wow What did I just read? Several hundred pages in which the author blames everyone but her rapist for the messy stuff that happens as a result of her rape? Why is she so uick to forgive Polanski but holds grudges against the media and the justice system? I understand her desire to put it all past her and live a normal life but it was Polanski who robbed her of her normalcy and it is Polanski who still evades justice Infuriating Heartbreaking And fascinating I'm glad I read it but boy did it hit a nerve


  7. says:

    If you wonder why we need MeToo and the ability of victims to be allowed to tell their stories without being shouted down just look at how Geimer a child was treated in court during the hearing of the Polanski rape case


  8. says:

    25 stars I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway It was sent by Atria Books This book is on one hand completely fascinating As someone who was not terribly familiar with the Polanski case other than in the broadest of terms and someone who somewhat sheepishly loves US Weekly I found the events themselves riveting and I could not put it down for the entire first half I read the entire book in one day The first half reads somewhat like a long US Weekly interview On the other hand the further into the book I read the less I was able to like the author's voice the theme is overwhelmingly that she sees herself as a survivor not a victim; however the bulk of the second half of the book is about how she and her family have been repeatedly victimized by the media and the justice system Her anger not toward Polanski but toward the press and the legal system is so palpable Because of that tone of anger the end of the book feels like it lacks any closure I wonder if Geimer's lifelong desire for privacy has made her memoir less sympathetic as she writes very little about any happiness in her life and I hope that is because she doesn't want to share that part of her life with the world and not because she continues to be as angry and unhappy as the tone of this memoir makes her out to be


  9. says:

    The Girl A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski is powerful Samantha Geimer has a tell it like it is voice and comes right to the point Her story is compelling and strongly told After so many years she says it her way This book stayed with me for a long time


  10. says:

    Somewhat interesting; not the best writing