Pen Pals

Pen Pals

4.3 13
by Olivia Goldsmith
     
 

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The master of the witty women's novel returns with the story of a Wall Street whiz who naively agrees to take the fall for her boss's SEC violations...and to her surprise, winds up trading in her Armani suit for an orange jumpsuit. But soon, Jennifer's banding together with a group of cellmates to turn things around...both inside and outside the prison walls.  See more details below

Overview

The master of the witty women's novel returns with the story of a Wall Street whiz who naively agrees to take the fall for her boss's SEC violations...and to her surprise, winds up trading in her Armani suit for an orange jumpsuit. But soon, Jennifer's banding together with a group of cellmates to turn things around...both inside and outside the prison walls.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Pals is the perfect Valentine's Day present for a woman suffering the done-wrong blues.
Publishers Weekly
An old hand at the hell-hath-no-fury revenge novel, Goldsmith sets her latest humorous caper in an unlikely location behind bars. When "Wall Street showboater" Jennifer Spencer agreed to "take the heat" for her boss's insider trading, she thought at worst she'd be sent to some country club prison for white collar ladies. At the very least, Tom Branson, "the sharpest (and most handsome) young counsel on the Street" (as well as her "beloved fiance") would arrange for special treatment and an expedited appeal that would have her back in her posh office within days. But once the gate is locked at Jennings Correctional Facility, Jennifer realizes that her boss, and somehow even Tom, have abandoned her to serve the full three to five years in a "battleship pink" hellhole. In earlier novels, Goldsmith (The First Wives Club, etc.) embraced her heroines' consumerism with wicked glee; here, she strains to teach Jennifer "values, co-operation, and probably some humility" at the hands of an implausibly benevolent warden and some noble, wholesome inmates. Assigned to the "crew" of Movita Watson, the sassy "queen bee" of Jennings, Jennifer is persuaded to use her Wall Street smarts to help fight the privatization of Jennings and get back at the "yellow rat bastards" who put her there. The revenge scheme is amusingly intricate, but it doesn't jibe with the desperate, tragic air of the prison setting or the frequent didactic speeches about rehabilitation. Even Goldsmith's famous ear for dishy girl talk is lacking here, as the inmates (particularly Movita) speak a highfalutin jailhouse jive that wavers dangerously in tone. After Diana Brooks aided the prosecution at the Sotheby's trial, it's no longer funny when a woman is urged to take the rap for her boss. And does anybody still think Wall Street can come to the rescue? (Feb.) Forecast: Goldsmith's fans may be briefly amused by the idea of one of her pampered protagonists in prison but will they ante up to read about ladies in jumpsuits? Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Mistress of revenge novels, Goldsmith (The First Wives Club) sets her sights on Wall Street and a sacrificial victim to an insider trading scandal named Jennifer Spencer, who ends up at Jennings Correctional Facility. The story plays with traditional stock characters from many women's prison novels: the tough crew leader Movita, streetwise thief Cher, innocent and na ve Suki, wisely optimistic chatterbox Theresa, and harried warden Gwen Harding. The plot moves slowly and isn't as polished as Goldsmith's earlier works, but the outcomes are properly satisfying. Narrated by Joyce Bean, this is an entertaining but predictable option for larger collections.-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Wall Street whiz takes an insider-trading rap for her crooked boss and winds up in prison. Jennifer Spencer is bright, beautiful-and behind bars. Her attorney fiance, Thomas Branston IV, and Donald Michaels, the sharklike CEO of her financial firm, persuaded her to take the rap for Donald's dirty deals and SEC violations, assuring her of a slap-on-the-wrist reprimand-and now she's in the Jennings Correctional Institute for Women for three to five. It's no country club, even though warden Gwen Harding is a sympathetic sort. Jennifer trades her Armani outfit for an orange jumpsuit, endures a body cavity search, and meets her fellow inmates: Movita Watson, a proud black woman serving a life sentence for slaying her abusive husband; thieving Cher McInnery, a hillbilly goddess from Arkansas; Suki, a fragile young woman convicted as accessory in a robbery, now pregnant by a guard who raped her; and Margaret Rafferty, a prep school headmistress found guilty of murdering her cheating husband. Jennifer soon understands that the name of the game is humiliation, not rehabilitation; and that no one is going to rescue her any time soon. But Lenny Benson, her firm's mild-mannered accountant, has been digging into the records and uncovering all kinds of wrongdoing-though not evidence enough to spring Jennifer. A crisis looms when the prison is faced with privatization by JRU, a cash-poor business planning to use inmates as telemarketers. Aided by Margaret's wheeler-dealer sons, Jennifer scotches the plan by on-line manipulation of JRU stock and arranging for a buyout of the undercapitalized company. With time off for good behavior, she's soon a free woman, meting out punishment to Donald and Tom andwangling pardons for some of the other Pen Pals. Social work as satire: The harsh realities of prison life are noted briefly on the way to a formulaic (and rather improbable) happy ending. Goldsmith (Bad Boy, 2001, etc.) has done better.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101191170
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/03/2002
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
File size:
713 KB

Meet the Author

Olivia Goldsmith is the bestselling author of Pen Pals, Bad Boy, The First Wives Club, Flavor of the Month, The Bestseller, and Switcheroo.

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Pen Pals 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
vistamom More than 1 year ago
this was a great book.  Well written and enjoyed it. would like to see a movie of this book.  Understand how this can happen in the real world
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very well-written, although at times, I felt the story had a slow-pace. Nevertheless, the author kept me interested throughout and provided many shocking statistics about women in prison, whom I now see differently (guilty or not). The ending to this page-turner was more than rewarding and heart-felt, leaving me smiling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read 'Pen Pals' a while ago and still remember this book. It just seemed to open up another world that I wasn't aware of. I have looked into others books about the subject of 'women in prison'. It is an excellent book expecially about women being strong in crisis. I have forwarded a copy to my friend, whom will forward to another friend,and so on and so on.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that at first glance of the cover, I didn't think that this book would be very interesting. As a lover of "Yound Wives", I gave it a shot. This book is terrific! It is fun as well as emotional, and it will have you shouting out loud (while surprising those around you) for the cunning ways the lead character adjusts and makes her situation work for her. This book not only educates the reader about the ghastly state of women's prisons, but leaves them feeling emotionally attached to all the women "convicts". Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was well written and followed many points of view and kept me interested! I loved the rollercoaster ride that the characters were on, and it couldn't have ended better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say, this book scared me like no other book has! The statistics on women in prison were astounding and the thought that something this horrific can happen to anyone makes it even more shocking. However, the relationships amoung the women gave me hope and, sometimes, a little chuckle. The book drives home the points that a) you can't always trust a man, b) a woman can ALWAYS get a man, but the friendships amoung women should always be savored and c) what comes around goes around. Ms. Goldsmith, you have written a fabulous book! Kudos!