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Goldsmith's novels have been hailed by critics and authors alike-the New York Times said she "tells a credible and deeply satisfying tale. It should give pause to jerks everywhere." Newsweek compared her to Jane Austen dealing black jack, "you keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were another potato chip." Scott Turow hailed her as "one of our Goldsmith's novels have been hailed by critics and authors alike-the New York Times said she "tells a credible and deeply satisfying tale. It should give pause to jerks everywhere." Newsweek compared her to Jane Austen dealing black jack, "you keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were another potato chip." Scott Turow hailed her as "one of our reigning national wits" while Nelson DeMille describes her books as "funny, sexy, hip, and very clever." Meet Jennifer-a smart, sexy woman who has made good in a man's world. A major player on The Street, Jennifer agrees to take the fall when her boss is caught playing fast and loose with the SEC. After all, her fianc&eacute is a lawyer with the connections to get her off. Instead, Jennifer ends up in Jennings Correctional Facility for Women, a world a whole lot tougher than her Wall Street days, inside she meets a lively group of smart, tough women: crew leader Movita; crazy Cher; blindly optimistic Theresa; and the adorable Suki. While Jennifer waits in vain for the rescue that her fiancé has promised, Movita makes her an offer she can't refuse. With Pen Pals, Olivia Goldsmith gives us another modern-day battle of the sexes-dished up with scathing wit, hilarity, and plenty of attitude. It is the acclaimed author at her incomparable best.


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Goldsmith's novels have been hailed by critics and authors alike-the New York Times said she "tells a credible and deeply satisfying tale. It should give pause to jerks everywhere." Newsweek compared her to Jane Austen dealing black jack, "you keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were another potato chip." Scott Turow hailed her as "one of our Goldsmith's novels have been hailed by critics and authors alike-the New York Times said she "tells a credible and deeply satisfying tale. It should give pause to jerks everywhere." Newsweek compared her to Jane Austen dealing black jack, "you keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were another potato chip." Scott Turow hailed her as "one of our reigning national wits" while Nelson DeMille describes her books as "funny, sexy, hip, and very clever." Meet Jennifer-a smart, sexy woman who has made good in a man's world. A major player on The Street, Jennifer agrees to take the fall when her boss is caught playing fast and loose with the SEC. After all, her fianc&eacute is a lawyer with the connections to get her off. Instead, Jennifer ends up in Jennings Correctional Facility for Women, a world a whole lot tougher than her Wall Street days, inside she meets a lively group of smart, tough women: crew leader Movita; crazy Cher; blindly optimistic Theresa; and the adorable Suki. While Jennifer waits in vain for the rescue that her fiancé has promised, Movita makes her an offer she can't refuse. With Pen Pals, Olivia Goldsmith gives us another modern-day battle of the sexes-dished up with scathing wit, hilarity, and plenty of attitude. It is the acclaimed author at her incomparable best.

30 review for Pen Pals

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    "This Jennings place is like a country club," she reminded herself as the van lurched forward and took her away from her job, her luxurious home, her love . And her life. Pen Pals by Olivia Goldsmith Great, deeply satisfying read about a female hedge fun worker who takes the fall for her boss when he commits insider trading. She winds up being sentenced to prison and this book is the story of her life behind bars and her transformation as a person. Honestly? I found this book to be way more realist "This Jennings place is like a country club," she reminded herself as the van lurched forward and took her away from her job, her luxurious home, her love . And her life. Pen Pals by Olivia Goldsmith Great, deeply satisfying read about a female hedge fun worker who takes the fall for her boss when he commits insider trading. She winds up being sentenced to prison and this book is the story of her life behind bars and her transformation as a person. Honestly? I found this book to be way more realistic about women's prisons then other books like say "Orange is the new black"! And this book is fiction ! I have a family member who has worked in a woman's prison and I know how hard it can be. This book does not attempt to minimize that. In her afterword, Goldsmith spoke of how of all her books, this was the toughest to write. I bet! She really did a great job though and Jenifer's story pulled at my heart while seeming realistic despite some pretty unrealistic events! 5 stars easily.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    I love this book and loved it even more than the second time. the main character isn't very likeable in the first few chapters, but she does redeem herself by the end of he book. I loved it and would read for a third time for sure. PLOT: SPOILERS!!!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK! Jennifer, a player on Wall Street, accepts to take the fall for her boss when the SEC investigates the company she works for. Her fiance the company lawyer, has convinced her he can get her off easily. I love this book and loved it even more than the second time. the main character isn't very likeable in the first few chapters, but she does redeem herself by the end of he book. I loved it and would read for a third time for sure. PLOT: SPOILERS!!!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK! Jennifer, a player on Wall Street, accepts to take the fall for her boss when the SEC investigates the company she works for. Her fiance the company lawyer, has convinced her he can get her off easily. Unfortunately, she is convicted, and sent to the Jennings Correctional Facility for Women. A tough world for the designer clad loft dweller that Jennifer used to be on the outside. Inside, she meets, a group of women that become her friends, while she waits for an appeal: Movita, the crew leader, Cher, the thief about to be paroled, Theresa, the optimist, Suki the cute one, and Maggie, the librarian. Each of them gets to comment on the events in the first person, while some of the story is narrated in the 3rd person. Jennifer discovers that, Lenny, the accountant in her former company is a nice guy. He is the first one to visit her, and bring her supplies and comfort. On the other hand, her fiance, downgrades to lawyer only, and soon abandons her case without filing the promised appeal. Movita has discovered (while working at the Warden's office) that the prison will soon be privatized and taken over by a company called JRU, that will have the inmates work like slave-labor, and increase the number of cells in order to make the enterprise profitable. The ex-Wall Street player is called to the rescue? Giving a new meaning to Insider trading, Jennifer and the group of inmates takes over JRU, and then becomes (indirectly) owner of the prison. They make it a better place to live and be rehabilitated. In the mean time, on the outside, Cher takes over Jennifer's vacant apartment (and credit cards) and starts an affair with her ex-boyfriend

  3. 5 out of 5

    M

    This book is just as stupid as it's yellow and pink cover belies. I ignored it many times in the library because Goldsmith's wit and nasty streak seemed to only shine in two of her works, and the few others I have picked up seemed to only show the weakness in her writing and none of her talent. PP is not exception. I picked it up because it was recommended, and while I can see how it is a somewhat uplifting and moralistic tale, overall it was so painfully obvious and preachy and ridiculous that i This book is just as stupid as it's yellow and pink cover belies. I ignored it many times in the library because Goldsmith's wit and nasty streak seemed to only shine in two of her works, and the few others I have picked up seemed to only show the weakness in her writing and none of her talent. PP is not exception. I picked it up because it was recommended, and while I can see how it is a somewhat uplifting and moralistic tale, overall it was so painfully obvious and preachy and ridiculous that it was just typical Goldsmith (brand names, one dimensional characters, revenge) without anything exciting. Jennifer is a dumb (yet somehow brilliant) shallow wimp who takes a fall for her obviously sleazy boss and fiance in some sort of financial scheme and ends up in prison, instantly turning everyone off (including me) with her princess attitude. As Jennifer 'grows and changes' (which Goldsmith makes sure to spell out) she uses her ostensible financial wit to help the prison not be taken over by some business that will make the prisoners unhappy. The novel is a thinly veiled attempt to make us feel bad for the women in prison and want their lives to be better, but frankly, while I am sure there are people in prison for no actual reason, there are a whole lot of others there who do need to be punished. So don't go making me feel bad for them or rallying for their cause. The different voices in the book either used wince worthy attempts at dialect that were all awful or similar enough personalities that no one stood out for me. Jennifer never ceased to be annoying, and her drippy accountant's love for her made no sense to me whatsoever, nor did J's love back for him. Altogether an immature tale that did nothing for me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    When Jennifer is found guilty of insider trading and sent to prison she is expecting a country club incarceration ala Martha Stewart - NOT. This book is a fanciful look inside a women’s prison, lots of fun “pen pals”. I wonder what it’s really like on the Inside. Yes, they should be treated humanely but they have committed crimes, so they do the time. Was Maggie based on Jean Harris of Scarsdale murder infamy? We’ll never know. I read all Ms Goldsmiths books some 20 years ago, don’t know how I mis When Jennifer is found guilty of insider trading and sent to prison she is expecting a country club incarceration ala Martha Stewart - NOT. This book is a fanciful look inside a women’s prison, lots of fun “pen pals”. I wonder what it’s really like on the Inside. Yes, they should be treated humanely but they have committed crimes, so they do the time. Was Maggie based on Jean Harris of Scarsdale murder infamy? We’ll never know. I read all Ms Goldsmiths books some 20 years ago, don’t know how I missed this one. Unfortunately she died a couple of years after this was written - during cosmetic surgery. She wrote very well, which is not always the case with chick lit. Another dig I can’t resist pointing out - this book was written in 2002 so I really laughed at this reference to Trump. She has lumped him with Milken, Boesky and Leona Helmsley, as the criminally rich!! Nothing has changed except the names of HIS “pen pals”.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I have been a huge Olivia Goldsmith fan since 'First Wives Club'. This book was well written with strong characters. Jennifer is imprisoned because of a corporate crime that she did participate in. However, she was also set up as the fall gal. Through her time in prison she begins to learn respect for the other prisoners and realizes that conditions need to be improved in the prison. Using her financial savvy and her connections in the outside world she is able to turn the prison around. The pri I have been a huge Olivia Goldsmith fan since 'First Wives Club'. This book was well written with strong characters. Jennifer is imprisoned because of a corporate crime that she did participate in. However, she was also set up as the fall gal. Through her time in prison she begins to learn respect for the other prisoners and realizes that conditions need to be improved in the prison. Using her financial savvy and her connections in the outside world she is able to turn the prison around. The prison warden is going through a midlife crisis and by teaming up with Jennifer they make positive change. Also, Goldsmith loves the exacting of revenge so there is a fair share of that, too, on the people(male) who set Jennifer up. There is one helpful, sensitive male--thank goodness--for relief. This book contains many subplots. But what I really liked was how many details I learned about actual prison life. Wow, it is an extremely difficult place to spend time emotionally. (I feel compelled to do something about prison reform myself after reading this book even though it was fiction.) I liked the title's play on words! I had no idea that the book was going to be about prison.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Typical of Goldsmith, this book is escapism at it's best. It does bring to light the horrible prison system and the ugliness of privitization of the same. Typical of Goldsmith, this book is escapism at it's best. It does bring to light the horrible prison system and the ugliness of privitization of the same.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    (re-read - first read in HS) Honestly this is like a 3.5 because it's a very engrossing book, but I guess it might be really a bit much to put it alongside all my other 4s. I was surprised at how well the first half of the book held up - I even Googled to see if it was also based on the same autobiography as Orange is the New Black, only to find it completely pre-dated it. Goldsmith was definitely onto something considering how much overlap there was, and how appealing that show came to be a full (re-read - first read in HS) Honestly this is like a 3.5 because it's a very engrossing book, but I guess it might be really a bit much to put it alongside all my other 4s. I was surprised at how well the first half of the book held up - I even Googled to see if it was also based on the same autobiography as Orange is the New Black, only to find it completely pre-dated it. Goldsmith was definitely onto something considering how much overlap there was, and how appealing that show came to be a full... 15? or so years later. And honestly if I'm going to read an easy book it's great for there to be a lot of factual info about prison reform and all the problems there... ha the second half of the book, though, entered such a realm of pure fantasy that I couldn't feel as immersed. It was just like Goldsmith decided what the best possible outcome was for every character and just... gave it to them. Everyone becomes rich! Then everyone gets their dream job! The bad guys REALLY lose! My ex-boyfriend loses all his money and his job! The prison food is tasty - yet *cheaper* than before! Pardons for all my closest friends! Why not have the wedding at the prison too! Everyone now LOVES Jennifer and believes she's the best person alive! And that's because - she IS! Yeah... it just tied up things a little too well. And then ended with a wedding, which felt super unnecessary. But, yeah - an enjoyable fast read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Terry

    There was a lot that I liked about this book. Quite entertaining, and the author did some awesome research regarding the inner workings of the women's prison system. It was rather fascinating - and even infuriating at times - to read about how things are done there. Thankfully there are some humorous moments to somewhat balance out all of that heaviness. The main character, Jennifer Spencer, starts out as an extremely unlikable, entitled brat but thankfully that didn't last terribly long. Severa There was a lot that I liked about this book. Quite entertaining, and the author did some awesome research regarding the inner workings of the women's prison system. It was rather fascinating - and even infuriating at times - to read about how things are done there. Thankfully there are some humorous moments to somewhat balance out all of that heaviness. The main character, Jennifer Spencer, starts out as an extremely unlikable, entitled brat but thankfully that didn't last terribly long. Several characters were featured and I liked that they each had their own voice; you could tell when it was a Movita chapter or a Maggie chapter. I did wonder why only some of the chapters were told in first person, but that's just my curiosity. I will say that the ending felt a tad rushed to me. The majority of the book is SO heavy, it was a little bit of a shock to me when things took such a drastic upturn. I can also say that I was waiting - hoping even - for Cher to have SOME kind of repercussions; her ending seemed like something of a stretch to me, but that's relative. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marty

    Jennifer Spencer, a Wall Street Whiz working for a major trading company seems to have it all: Good Looks, Great portfolio, fantastic apartment in NY City, exciting occupation, and to top it off, she is engaged to one of her firms top young handsome lawyers. All is great until the firm’s director and her fiancée ask her to take a fall for the company. They assure her that she will not be charged and there will be no repercussions except that she will get a great payoff by the firm. However, when Jennifer Spencer, a Wall Street Whiz working for a major trading company seems to have it all: Good Looks, Great portfolio, fantastic apartment in NY City, exciting occupation, and to top it off, she is engaged to one of her firms top young handsome lawyers. All is great until the firm’s director and her fiancée ask her to take a fall for the company. They assure her that she will not be charged and there will be no repercussions except that she will get a great payoff by the firm. However, when the charges are not dropped and she is found guilty and sentenced to prison, she finds that the promises made evaporate… including the 3 carat diamond engagement ring that her fiancée took back for “safe-keeping.” Prison was so much worse than she ever imagined. …. Her life was falling apart. … How could she possibly cope??? Or even hope to get her self-respect back. -- A good story!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Jennifer is a successful employee with a Wall Street business firm. She pleads guilty for insider trading carried out by her employer. Although her employer and his lawyer promised she will not be convicted, she is found guilty and is sentenced to serve time in a woman’s prison. As she adjusts to her new reality, she becomes friends with some of the inmates. When a private company threatens to take over the running of the prison, Jennifer and some of her fellow prisoners develop a plan. The auth Jennifer is a successful employee with a Wall Street business firm. She pleads guilty for insider trading carried out by her employer. Although her employer and his lawyer promised she will not be convicted, she is found guilty and is sentenced to serve time in a woman’s prison. As she adjusts to her new reality, she becomes friends with some of the inmates. When a private company threatens to take over the running of the prison, Jennifer and some of her fellow prisoners develop a plan. The author wanted to bring her readers’ attention to the reality of women’s prisons in the United States. It was a story which was well worth reading.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    This book is split into 3 parts. Reading part 1 was enjoyable and went by quickly. Although I didn’t particularly like the main character, I also realized that I wasn’t supposed to. Part 2 was a bit more laborious, as things started to happen that seems quite unbelievable. This is standard for the chick-lot genre, so it was still fine for me. Part 3 was terrible. It was not realistic in any way and not really even that entertaining; I’d describe it as downright ridiculous and eye-roll inducing. This book is split into 3 parts. Reading part 1 was enjoyable and went by quickly. Although I didn’t particularly like the main character, I also realized that I wasn’t supposed to. Part 2 was a bit more laborious, as things started to happen that seems quite unbelievable. This is standard for the chick-lot genre, so it was still fine for me. Part 3 was terrible. It was not realistic in any way and not really even that entertaining; I’d describe it as downright ridiculous and eye-roll inducing. The book as a whole has some uplifting and moralistic points to it, but the end of this book honestly ruined it for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    B.

    This was a fluff book/ summer read/ mindless entertainment/ whatever your term is for it. That being said, if you like OITNB (the show not the book), this is written in a similar vein. It was a good read for a one time through, but it will not be a keeper for me because there were just too many things that were implausible. The author did not do her research on prisons before writing the book, which made it incredibly ineffective in terms of actual story telling and realism. It was decent enough This was a fluff book/ summer read/ mindless entertainment/ whatever your term is for it. That being said, if you like OITNB (the show not the book), this is written in a similar vein. It was a good read for a one time through, but it will not be a keeper for me because there were just too many things that were implausible. The author did not do her research on prisons before writing the book, which made it incredibly ineffective in terms of actual story telling and realism. It was decent enough though, aside from that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie Laumark

    I really enjoyed the way Olivia Goldsmith wrote. This book, though very far fetched in places, provided great insight on the lives & plight of women in prison. Jennifer Spencer, like many of her sentenced counterparts, is in the "big house" because of men. Her anger, growth, friendships & frustrations are chronicled in great detail by Goldsmith's talented hand. We list post this amazing wordsmith much too soon! I really enjoyed the way Olivia Goldsmith wrote. This book, though very far fetched in places, provided great insight on the lives & plight of women in prison. Jennifer Spencer, like many of her sentenced counterparts, is in the "big house" because of men. Her anger, growth, friendships & frustrations are chronicled in great detail by Goldsmith's talented hand. We list post this amazing wordsmith much too soon!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christie Owens

    This novel surprised me, in a good way. I thought I was picking up frivolous time-waster, a humorous distraction. While it had it's humorous moments, it was incredibly sad how the prison system is run. I learned a lot about conditions and people that I had overlooked as just criminals. I have gained a great deal of compassion from reading Pen Pals. This novel surprised me, in a good way. I thought I was picking up frivolous time-waster, a humorous distraction. While it had it's humorous moments, it was incredibly sad how the prison system is run. I learned a lot about conditions and people that I had overlooked as just criminals. I have gained a great deal of compassion from reading Pen Pals.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I read this on the recommendation of a friend, after I complained about how many depressing books I had read recently. It not only cheered me up, it educated me on what is itself a fairly depressing topic: Our prison system, and the "outsourcing" of prison management. I read this on the recommendation of a friend, after I complained about how many depressing books I had read recently. It not only cheered me up, it educated me on what is itself a fairly depressing topic: Our prison system, and the "outsourcing" of prison management.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maribeth

    I really enjoyed this book. Read it in one afternoon. It really reminded me of 'orange is the new black.' But, with a bit more heart. I really enjoyed this book. Read it in one afternoon. It really reminded me of 'orange is the new black.' But, with a bit more heart.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    This is the first novel I've read by this author and I wasn't disappointed. Full of witty and entertaining characters, yet quick and fun. From back cover: "This was not supposed to happen. Wall Street wiz Jennifer Spencer took the rap for her powerful boss on insider trading charges-barely questioning his assurances that she'd never actually be convicted. Now she's exchanged her Armani suit for an orange jumpsuit, and she's settling in at the Jennings Correctional Facility for Women. And her well- This is the first novel I've read by this author and I wasn't disappointed. Full of witty and entertaining characters, yet quick and fun. From back cover: "This was not supposed to happen. Wall Street wiz Jennifer Spencer took the rap for her powerful boss on insider trading charges-barely questioning his assurances that she'd never actually be convicted. Now she's exchanged her Armani suit for an orange jumpsuit, and she's settling in at the Jennings Correctional Facility for Women. And her well-connected lawyer, who also happens to be her fiance, has taken her three-carat diamond ring back-for 'safekeeping.' Things look grim. But after a rocky start, Jennifer finds herself making friends with Movita, who works in the warden's office, and getting to know her fellow inmates Suki, Cher, and Theresa. Then Movita discovers that as gloomy and run-down as Jennings may be, it might soon get worse-because a profit-minded private company is angling behind the scences to take it over. If there's anyone who knows about bad deals, it's Jennifer Spencer. And with Movita's street smarts, Jennifer's Wall Street smarts, and Cher's talent for larceny, they're about to make the investment of a lifetime..."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Jennifer Spencer, financial whiz, agrees to take the 'rap' for her fiancee Tom on insider trading charges. Tom has agreed to make appeals and get her out quickly and in the meantime she will be at a country club jail. Not so!! Tom is a rat and soon Jennifer, besides being dumped is at Jennings Correctional Facility in an orange jumpsuit. Jennifer is rich, spoiled and self-absorbed. After a very rocky beginning, Jennifer finds herself on Movita's team along with Suki, Cher, and Theresa. Jennifer s Jennifer Spencer, financial whiz, agrees to take the 'rap' for her fiancee Tom on insider trading charges. Tom has agreed to make appeals and get her out quickly and in the meantime she will be at a country club jail. Not so!! Tom is a rat and soon Jennifer, besides being dumped is at Jennings Correctional Facility in an orange jumpsuit. Jennifer is rich, spoiled and self-absorbed. After a very rocky beginning, Jennifer finds herself on Movita's team along with Suki, Cher, and Theresa. Jennifer starts to learn how to help other people by first getting a guard fired. Upon learning that Jennings is going to be privatized, Jennifer starts to think about making the biggest investment of her life. This book is a very interesting story about female correctional facilities and turning your life around. Jennifer starts out as a snob and find out what really counts in life and who your real friends are.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jaleh

    Goldsmith admits that of all the novels she has written in her career, Pen Pals has been her most difficult. She wrote this book to expose some of the evils and inequities that exist in the prison system. The result is a raw, surprisingly uplifting, hopeful, and empowering story about a woman who wrongly goes to jail. WARNING: This story takes place inside a womens correctional facility and has graphic language and sexual content. Definitely a mature read and not for those easily offended. Altho Goldsmith admits that of all the novels she has written in her career, Pen Pals has been her most difficult. She wrote this book to expose some of the evils and inequities that exist in the prison system. The result is a raw, surprisingly uplifting, hopeful, and empowering story about a woman who wrongly goes to jail. WARNING: This story takes place inside a womens correctional facility and has graphic language and sexual content. Definitely a mature read and not for those easily offended. Although the language is tough, it was realistic and appropriate for the prison setting. The story was fulfilling and worthwhile enough that I put up with the language and other content. Overall, I think Goldsmith achieved her goal in making her reader more aware of the difficulties facing incarcerated women while creating a satisfying story with characters you care about.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Martha Wewer

    This was, surprisingly, less about a chick and more of a social commentary. The cover is deceiving because you think it's a fluffy chick lit story about a girl who writes letters or something (note: I don't read the backs of books, I look at the covers. Whoever writes the backs of novels is tainting the reading experience because no matter how objective they think they are, they always put some of their own opinion in the summary). It's not and it's funny and smart. It delves in to world of pris This was, surprisingly, less about a chick and more of a social commentary. The cover is deceiving because you think it's a fluffy chick lit story about a girl who writes letters or something (note: I don't read the backs of books, I look at the covers. Whoever writes the backs of novels is tainting the reading experience because no matter how objective they think they are, they always put some of their own opinion in the summary). It's not and it's funny and smart. It delves in to world of prison life, looking at gaurd abuse and prison conditions without getting too heavy. I didn't like the implication that every woman was in prison because of a man. I think that makes women appear stupid and weak, like they can't even get into trouble in their own without the help of a man. Anyway, I like this book best of all of Olivia Goldsmith's novels. Good summertime read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    This book may be chick lit but I found it neither funny nor trivial. Jennifer Spencer is a wall street broker who is tricked into taking the fall for her bosses on insider trading. It is quite a shock to her to end up in jail. The first half of the book is taken up with telling us about jail and how awful it is. This is done in a light manner, but I found the author to be quite serious about this subject and it is disturbing to read about the conditions and injustices in our penal system. The se This book may be chick lit but I found it neither funny nor trivial. Jennifer Spencer is a wall street broker who is tricked into taking the fall for her bosses on insider trading. It is quite a shock to her to end up in jail. The first half of the book is taken up with telling us about jail and how awful it is. This is done in a light manner, but I found the author to be quite serious about this subject and it is disturbing to read about the conditions and injustices in our penal system. The second half of the book turns into a la-la land fantasy that involves many changes for the better in the jail. I know more about the penal system and the dangers of privatization of jails than I did before, and no amount of dressing it in chick lit made the subject palatable. I didn't laugh once, jail is a very difficult subject to contemplate.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Okay - so it was not what I expected, but I was overall pleasantly surprised by what it was instead. It was about a women who was sent to prision for her boss's financial blunders and her path to changing herself. There were portions of the book where I was thinking, "Oh come on, Yeah right!" However, I overall did not want to stop reading the book becuase it did not follow the exact plot-line that I was predicting that it would (it followed it somewhat, but there were a couple of unexpected dif Okay - so it was not what I expected, but I was overall pleasantly surprised by what it was instead. It was about a women who was sent to prision for her boss's financial blunders and her path to changing herself. There were portions of the book where I was thinking, "Oh come on, Yeah right!" However, I overall did not want to stop reading the book becuase it did not follow the exact plot-line that I was predicting that it would (it followed it somewhat, but there were a couple of unexpected differences). I think it has book-club discussion potential in that it discusses the difference between prision and a place of reform. I think that there are some good points that are made concerning the Psychology of prisions and their lack of supportive environment for change.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    1.5 STARS "Meet Jennifer - a smart, sexy woman who has made good in a man's world. A major player on The Street, Jennifer agrees to take the fall when her boss is caught playing fast and loose with the SEC. After all, her fiance is a lawyer with the connections to get her off. Instead, Jennifer ends up in Jennings Correctional Facility for Women, a world a whole lot tougher than Wall Street. Inside she meets a lively group of smart, tough women: crew leader Movita, crazy Cher, blindly optimistic T 1.5 STARS "Meet Jennifer - a smart, sexy woman who has made good in a man's world. A major player on The Street, Jennifer agrees to take the fall when her boss is caught playing fast and loose with the SEC. After all, her fiance is a lawyer with the connections to get her off. Instead, Jennifer ends up in Jennings Correctional Facility for Women, a world a whole lot tougher than Wall Street. Inside she meets a lively group of smart, tough women: crew leader Movita, crazy Cher, blindly optimistic Theresa, and the adorable Suki. While Jennifer waits in vain for the rescue that her fiance has promised, Movita makes her an offer she can't refuse." (From Amazon) If you have read one Goldsmith you have read them all. Read the First Wives club if you have to pick one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Perez-Beardsley

    Reading this book was like watching OITNB (Orange is the new black), without the lesbian encounters. This book was definitely a good read, but...I can't help but feel as if Olivia Goldsmith was freakin ripped off! And she's dead! I mean seriously...the similarities are wayyyy too obvious! The main character, Jennifer Spencer, is a lot like Piper. Suki is Lorna. At this point I don't remember the rest of the characters offhand, but I do know that I could compare each one to those of OITNB. That be Reading this book was like watching OITNB (Orange is the new black), without the lesbian encounters. This book was definitely a good read, but...I can't help but feel as if Olivia Goldsmith was freakin ripped off! And she's dead! I mean seriously...the similarities are wayyyy too obvious! The main character, Jennifer Spencer, is a lot like Piper. Suki is Lorna. At this point I don't remember the rest of the characters offhand, but I do know that I could compare each one to those of OITNB. That being said...this book was great. Just...uncanny, that is was so much like a Netflix Series and was written in 2002. Way before OITNB came out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This was the first Olivia Goldsmith book I've read and I have to say that I did enjoy this book and plan on trying out another of her books when I get the chance. While the plot was a little unrealistic (esp the chapter before the epilogue with Lenny & Jennifer),with all the women's lives turned around,and the bad guys got what was coming to them (though I wish more could have happened to them), what I enjoyed about this book was that it was light, fast-paced, cute, & funny. While it was unreali This was the first Olivia Goldsmith book I've read and I have to say that I did enjoy this book and plan on trying out another of her books when I get the chance. While the plot was a little unrealistic (esp the chapter before the epilogue with Lenny & Jennifer),with all the women's lives turned around,and the bad guys got what was coming to them (though I wish more could have happened to them), what I enjoyed about this book was that it was light, fast-paced, cute, & funny. While it was unrealistic it was never to the point of disgust. So unless you are looking for a classic drama with a complex plot and symbolism and themes, then you will enjoy this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pbwritr

    Wonderfu lbook. Fantastic storyteller. Rich characters. Perfect dialogue. A Wall Street trader takes the fall for her boss for inside trading, secure that her lawyer fiance and boss will get her pardoned or appealed if by some quirk she's convicted. Shocked that she's sentenced to prison, Jennifer Spencer believes she'll get out in a day, receive special treatment, because her fiance and boss promised. An inside look at women's prisons in a fictional context--although harsh, still lightened up f Wonderfu lbook. Fantastic storyteller. Rich characters. Perfect dialogue. A Wall Street trader takes the fall for her boss for inside trading, secure that her lawyer fiance and boss will get her pardoned or appealed if by some quirk she's convicted. Shocked that she's sentenced to prison, Jennifer Spencer believes she'll get out in a day, receive special treatment, because her fiance and boss promised. An inside look at women's prisons in a fictional context--although harsh, still lightened up for the readers. Goldsmith does a fabulous job of showing Jennifer's transformation by her prison experience. Great job.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed this book. I had read all of her other stuff and had a hard time getting my hands on this one at the library. I do not think I have ever read a book about life in a women's prison and it was an eye opener to the horrors they deal with, which is nothing as this was fictionalized. I like the book both because most of the characters were interesting and because I learned something I knew nothing about. Worth reading but not exactly a "beach read" if you want to read fluff this time I really enjoyed this book. I had read all of her other stuff and had a hard time getting my hands on this one at the library. I do not think I have ever read a book about life in a women's prison and it was an eye opener to the horrors they deal with, which is nothing as this was fictionalized. I like the book both because most of the characters were interesting and because I learned something I knew nothing about. Worth reading but not exactly a "beach read" if you want to read fluff this time of year!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Wow, what a treat this book was. Both the story, and the telling of it, were attention-grabbing. Prominent woman gets sent to jail as scapegoat for white collar crime and learns what the other side of life looks like. I learned a lot – about why people do what they do, the penal system (in particular, the issue of privatization of prisons) and activism. But in a funny (yes!) and easy-to-relate-to setting. My only complaint is one I have of many novelists…they spend too much time upfront and then Wow, what a treat this book was. Both the story, and the telling of it, were attention-grabbing. Prominent woman gets sent to jail as scapegoat for white collar crime and learns what the other side of life looks like. I learned a lot – about why people do what they do, the penal system (in particular, the issue of privatization of prisons) and activism. But in a funny (yes!) and easy-to-relate-to setting. My only complaint is one I have of many novelists…they spend too much time upfront and then rush at the end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    I really liked this book and it was very realistic up to the point where the inmates became the stockholders of the private company that took over the state run prison. Then it just got to far-fetched for me. Overall its a great self-development novel for all the women who might not have had the best of life handed to them. I liked Jennifer at the end. At the beginning she was shallow and just plain stupid. Who takes the fall for insider trading for someone else? She ended up learning alot about I really liked this book and it was very realistic up to the point where the inmates became the stockholders of the private company that took over the state run prison. Then it just got to far-fetched for me. Overall its a great self-development novel for all the women who might not have had the best of life handed to them. I liked Jennifer at the end. At the beginning she was shallow and just plain stupid. Who takes the fall for insider trading for someone else? She ended up learning alot about herself and life. She ended up a better person.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nethra Ram

    Good lord what a boring book! 60 pages in and I couldn't find one character worth reading about but the biggest joke is the heroine who is colossally dumb! She's been duped by her bosses into shouldering blame for fraud and is sent to prison and all she does is ramble like an incoherent idiot about how someone would've called ahead and would be on their way to getting her out of there. I wonder if the author was at all thinking when she has one character describe this nutcase as 'too smart for h Good lord what a boring book! 60 pages in and I couldn't find one character worth reading about but the biggest joke is the heroine who is colossally dumb! She's been duped by her bosses into shouldering blame for fraud and is sent to prison and all she does is ramble like an incoherent idiot about how someone would've called ahead and would be on their way to getting her out of there. I wonder if the author was at all thinking when she has one character describe this nutcase as 'too smart for her own good!' I rest my case. I'm ditching this one.

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