Twisted: The Story of Larry Nassar and the Women Who Took Him Down

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Twisted: The Story of Larry Nassar and the Women Who Took Him Down
by Mary Pilon

Genre: True Crime

Release date: July 25, 2019

Publisher: Audible Originals

Synopsis: 

America’s top gymnasts have been show stoppers at the Summer Olympics for decades – the women’s artistic team won nine medals in 2016 alone. But beneath the athleticism, smiles, sponsorship deals, and haul of gold medals was a dark secret: a story of sexual abuse and trauma that, when revealed, became one of the biggest scandals in the history of American sports.

In early 2018, Larry Nassar, the former doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to serve out the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to a variety of sex crimes. In a show of unparalleled force, more than 150 young women – from gold medalists to former Michigan State University athletes to old family friends – confronted the once beloved Nassar in court, sharing their pain and resolve. Many of them took legal, financial, and career risks to speak out.

But these women’s stories also reveal a stranger, more far-reaching truth: that the institutions responsible for protecting them – from the United States Olympic Committee to local police departments – had known in some form about the abuse for years, and had not put an end to it. Twisted tells the harrowing story of these crimes and how Larry Nassar got away with them for as long as he did.

New York Times best-selling author Mary Pilon and Carla Correa chronicle the scandal from its inception, tracking the institutions that Nassar hid behind, the athletic culture that he benefited from, and the women who eventually brought him to justice. In this Audible Original, you’ll hear directly from these people – including the voices of coaches, parents, industry leaders, and the survivors themselves – as they grapple with the truth about Nassar and describe what it took to bring him down.

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My thanks to Audible for sending me a complimentary copy of this audio-book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. 

“Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

The Larry Nassar case is one that has been haunting me since it hit the public. How could a predator like Nassar be so brazen and prolific, sometimes abusing his victims under the guise of “medical procedures” with their own parents in the room, and go undetected for so long? The short answer, as you will learn very quickly listening to this audio book, is that he didn’t go undetected. Numerous complaints were filed against Nassar and fell on deaf ears.

Twisted exposes the broken system in USA gymnastics that was necessary in order for a predator like Nassar to operate essentially unchallenged, and I think that’s the most important angle that this audio book covers. There will always be terrible people in the world who seek to victimize others, but there is no excuse for leaders in an organization, and in some cases law enforcement, looking the other way when victims speak out due to the perpetrator’s good reputation. Twisted gives listeners the opportunity to hear directly from victims, and it is beyond heartbreaking to hear women recount their experiences attempting to report what the went through only to be dismissed.

Once again, Audible takes full advantage of the audio format of this book, bringing in the voices of people who encountered Nassar in varying ways. It really brings to light the huge ripple effect of his actions and how many people were harmed in countless ways. How does one comes to terms with learning that what they thought for years was a valid medical procedure was in fact abuse? Or losing a child to suicide? Or finding that you were unknowingly complicit, sending young girls to a trusted colleague who took advantage of them?

This audio book was absolutely heart-wrenching, and the ending brought me to tears when I listened to victims giving their statements in court. An absolute must-read for anyone who followed this story in the news!

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