Cleary Wolters is the real-life inspiration for the character Nora Jansen in Piper Kerman's memoir and Alex Vause in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Piper spent thirteen months in a Danbury, Connecticut, minimum-security prison beginning in 2004. Cleary, meanwhile, was charged with conspiracy to import heroin and served almost six years in a Dublin, California, prison before being paroled in 2008. Cleary has written poetry, fiction, and screenplays, the bulk of which were written during her prison sentence. This is her first memoir.
"A powerful, surprising memoir about crime and punishment, friendship and marriage, and a life caught in the ruinous drug trade and beyond." -- Publishers Weekly "It's a riveting tale, told well and full of lessons for those willing to listen. ... detailed here in a voice that is heartfelt and honest, toughening when it needs to but remaining steadfast." -- Eloise Kinney, Booklist "Don't mistake Wolters's sticking to the facts for lack of engrossing intrigue. Anecdotes about her globetrotting and law-breaking-not to mention her affair with Kerman-make for can't-put-it-down entertainment." -- Next Magazine "Wolters's accessible and honest memoir opens the door and invites readers in. Patrons won't meet Alex Vause, the sultry drug-trafficking queen of OITNB. Instead, they'll meet Wolters-a woman with aspirations, whose missteps take her on unexpected journeys. -- Library Journal "Where Piper's account has given us a voyeuristic look at prison life that allows us as a nation to congratulate ourselves on being so well adjusted and normal compared to the people whose lives we can't stop watching, Wolters' book sounds much more authentic, insightful, and heartbreaking." -- Tattle "In [Wolter's] book, she tells an honest and emotional tale of the decisions and the mistakes she made, as well as the struggle to keep them from defining the rest of her life. -- Amos Lassen, Reviews by Amos Lassen In prose that is brilliant (at times breathtaking), Cleary also offers us a story of regret and redemption...She writes unflinchingly about her ordeals in the violent and overcrowded prison system." -- Janet Mason, Huff Post Books