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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

Killing Commendatore
Haruki Murakami, Kirby Heyborne

Out of Orange

Out of Orange: A Memoir - Cleary Wolters, Barbara Rosenblat (narrator)

When the Netflix-show version of Orange is the New Black started, Cleary Wolters had read Piper Kerman's memoir by the same name and was expecting the character inspired by her to have a relatively small role in the show, as in the book.  But Laura Prepon's Alex Vause, unlike Nora Jansen in Kerman's memoir, has a prominent role.  Binge-watching the entire season in a couple of sittings, Wolters began to panic.  She was still on parole, nervous about any violation that could send her back to prison, and most of the people she interacted with on a daily basis had no idea about her past.  Checking Google, she soon realized that people had already connected her name and mug shot with the phrase "the real Alex Vause."  Once her parole had ended, Wolters granted an interview that appeared in Vanity Fair.  The interview led to her book deal.


Having read Piper Kerman's version of events, it was interesting to get Wolters's perspective.  Their accounts, where they overlap, are fairly consistent with one another.  As can be expected, they remember certain details differently, but the large strokes match up.  Wolters's involvement with the drug-smuggling ring was longer and more involved than Kerman's, and one can sympathize with her getting sucked in farther than she ever wanted to, once her sister's safety was being used as leverage.  Interestingly, Out of Orange focuses much less on the prison experience than Orange is the New Black did.  I read an interview where Wolters was asked about this, and it seems that her original draft did have more "prison" narrative, but that draft was much too long, and she was asked to condense it.


For the most part, I enjoyed the way Wolters shared her stories.  However, there were times when she seemed overly focused on sharing small details, like what she did, ate, wore, saw, thought, smelled, etc., etc., on a given day.  If she'd condensed that, she might have been able to keep in more of her excised prison material. 


Also, part of me is somewhat annoyed that the marketing is so geared toward viewers of the show OitNB (as opposed to readers of Kerman's memoir).  I mean, look at the cover text:  "Orange is the New Black introduced the world to Alex Vause.  Now meet the real woman behind the glasses."  But I get it:  the show has many more viewers than the original memoir had readers.  And that's why I keep seeing/reading interviews where Cleary Wolters patiently explained that she and Piper Kerman did not serve their sentences together, let alone have all kinds of prison sex, as the show appears to suggest.  Once I was complaining to a co-worker about all the changes the show had made to the story recounted in Kerman's book.  And my co-worker sagely responded, "Well.  Jenji Kohan."  That pretty well sums it up.  It's better to think of the show as a being only tangentially related to--while still inspired by--the memoir.  Cleary Wolters is represented by Nora Jansen in the memoir.  Nora Jansen inspired the fictional Alex Vause.


Although I mainly listened to this as an audiobook, I also got the ebook and went back and forth between the two.  This is my MO lately.