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Pen Pals Mass Market Paperback – September 3, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; First Edition edition (September 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451206673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451206671
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

It takes Goldsmith's heroine quite a bit of adversity and misfortune to find out what really matters in life. Rich and beautiful, spoiled and self-absorbed, Jennifer Spencer is on her way to prison, convicted of insider trading. Expecting her boyfriend to handle her appeal quickly and assure her release, Jennifer is rudely awakened by his betrayal, as well as by the harsh realities of life in a female correctional facility. The story is at once hilariously funny and sharply poignant. Goldsmith (The First Wives Club) alternates chapter viewpoints among various women serving their prison sentences, each of whom tells a wretched and woeful narrative. Goldsmith, known for somewhat outrageous plot lines, here allows Jennifer to hatch a dubious scheme for revenge. She manages to get a guard fired, help establish a host of prison reforms, and secure pardons for several of her fellow cellmates. The book is written with such oblivious good humor and spunk that it's hard to find fault with Goldsmith's taking serious social problems, including prison reform, sexual harassment, and white-collar crime, and wrapping them up in a neatly packaged fairy-tale ending. Given Goldsmith's popularity, all public libraries should expect demand and purchase accordingly. Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pat Krupp on March 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A quick read, yet Pen Pals has well-defined characters, an involved plot, and a conflict on several levels. Women will probably relate well to this story. Deceived by her boyfriend Tom, Jennifer Spencer is drawn into a shady business deal and is wrongfully imprisoned for a crime that she did not commit. Forced to leave her cushy job behind, Jennifer bravely marches off to prison with a false sense of security, believing that her beloved Tom will rescue her quickly from this intolerable situation. After getting off to a bad start in prison, Jennifer reluctantly realizes that she must learn to cope with her incarceration, for she will remain in prison a very long time. With the help of Lenny, a loyal friend on the outside, and a mixed-up group of women prisoners who eventually become allies, Jennifer comes to a new realization about what is important in life. Alternating chapters in this novel are told from the perspective of different characters in the book. There is more than enough suspense to hold the reader's interest. Although the book deals with some harsh realities of life, I found the story to be an uplifting tribute to the power of the human spirit. I read the book in two days; I couldn't put it down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on May 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Anne Spencer was just trying to earn a living(OK a very good living) awhen she took the fall for her fiancee, Tom and their boss Donald as the SEC and justice department came after his brokerage firm. Not to worry, the fiancee would get her out of jail quickly and Donald would reward her for her loyalty. No one let Judge Levitt in on the way things were supposed to go, and Jennifer was not supposed to be going to Jennings Correctional Faculity for Women. Poor Jen. Once she lands in the pen she comes under the stewardship of Warden Gwendolyn Harding, and the group of women who not only help her accept the betrayal of the men in her life, but these women form an unlikely aliance and eventual friendship. Pen Pals has a bit of substance to it as it touches on the difficult subject of women in prisin and gives excellent recommended reading at the end of the book. After "Bad Boys" I was hesitant to read another Olivia Goldsmith book. I know the formula, "He done her wrong, not just wrong, but Bad wrong, and she can't believe it, but then she picks herself up by the bootstraps, or brastraps, and not only gets even but emerges wiser and usually richer, and he gets his in the end." And with her sharp dialogue and edgy characters Olivia Goldsmith does this better than almost anyone else.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shunda Blocker on June 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me by a co-book club member and her mom. The book was well worth the time spent reading it. It's a story of a young woman who goes to prison and whose life is basically turned upside down. The friendships in Jennings (the name of the women's prison in the story) are so awesome. The author does a great job with character development and by a few chapters, you are introduced to the main character (the crew) and you are given a wonderful opportunity to see inside their lives. I loved the flow of the book, the author's humor, the quotes...it was a great read and I will highly recommend it to other reader's in my circle. This was my first book by this author but definitely not the last, in fact, I picked up "Flavor of the Month" a few days ago...after hearing that it too is also one of this author's favorite. Excellent job on prison research and excellent writing style. (the humor was very appropriate) and the ending was marvelous...especially how TOM got his back..his as in "what he deserved". Cher was not initially my favorite character...but she didn't turn out too bad at all. Maggie and Movita were my favorite characters and my absolute favorite part of the story is the letter that Maggie wrote for the crew to Cher. Well done!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By elizabeth robison on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is another in the genre of Olivia Goldsmith;woman gets screwed by man;woman gets her revenge. She did considerable research on the status of womens' prisons and the women incarcerated there. Much of the book dealt with the privatization of prisons and the resulting dehumanization of prisoners. This is such a well written,albeit,somehow unbelievable book.The focus is on six prisoners:Jennifer,Movita, Theresa,Cher,Suki,Maggie,and Warden Gwen Harding. Each chapter deals with a specific woman which all blends into the whole of the book. Jennifer is the main character,taking the fall for her Wall Street bosses. Feeling above the rest,she soon realizes she has been badly used and her superior attitude takes a dive, resulting in joining forces with the others. From here on it becomes almost a fantasy,but a very readable one nontheless. The character development is excellent,considering the diverse backgrounds of each of the women.You know each very well. This is a humerous book in spite of the serious subject matter. Olivia Goldsmith can make you smile even in a prison story. In spite of the inconceivable ending it is a good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookaddict on April 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is in many ways a very typical Olivia Goldsmith novel--Man does woman wrong. Woman gets revenge, and in the process learns to depend on herself and her girlfriends. What doesn't work for me in this book, is the attempt to intermingle this bit of fluff with the difficult subjects of crime and the Correctional System. It winds up being kind of "Gidget goes to Prison", a bit too unrealistic to take seriously and a bit heavy for fluff.
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