19 Penn Alumni you should know about: Vol. 8


Penn Alum Susan Orlins (CW ’67) turned her blogposts about worrying into a new book called CONFESSIONS OF A WORRYWART.  The shpiel:

“In her plucky new memoir, award-winning journalist Susan Orlins inspires you to embrace your worries. With wit and grit, Orlins takes you from her starter marriage in 1965 on a rocky, comical journey to 1979, when she moves with her second husband to Beijing (where she has her own personal spy). Her effort to adopt an infant in China provides a rare portrait of an era when “eating bitterness” was a way of life.

In the chapter “I May Have Ruined the Marriage, But You’re Ruining the Divorce,” Orlins portrays her separation with wry, wrenching self-awareness. She rebounds with a post-traumatic-divorce party, “family” vacations with her ex, and a cast of Mr. Wrongs, like one who–whenever he feels blue–swallows a pinch of his father’s ashes. During a solo bicycle trip in Paris, Orlins tracks down a boyfriend from 42 years earlier. No one could have anticipated the crisis that occurs an hour into their reunion. With her knack for stumbling into drama, it’s no wonder she worries. More recently, while exploring what young Susan would think of her present-day self, Orlins faces a life-changing realization. Readers will relate to this deeply personal story, told with a quirky sensibility by a startlingly honest mother, daughter, ex-wife, and dog lover, who–à la Nora Ephron–will feel like a dear friend. Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others lingers long after you finish reading it.”

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Steve Bevilacqua (C’86, Mask and Wig, DP, Sphinx) just published Kafka at the Beach: A Layman’s Handbook for Those Falsely Accused of Felonies, a book based on an unbelievable series of events that happened in his own life!  The shpiel:

Kafka at the Beach: A Layman’s Handbook for Those Falsely Accused of Felonies is the hilarious and shocking tale of a most devastating ordeal. One sunny day in Venice Beach, Steve B- steps out of his apartment and finds himself in a surreal nightmare that will devour the next year of his life. Run down by a road rage maniac, attacked in the street, brutalized by gun-crazy cops, and harassed by police detectives, Steve is dragged through the courts for months, facing mandatory prison sentences for imaginary crimes. Shoved through a maze of court-ordered therapy, Steve ultimately finds himself navigating a new labyrinth on national TV at the mercy of the snarling, modern-day Solomon known as Judge J-. Is daytime TV the last bastion of true justice in America? KAFKA AT THE BEACH: A Layman’s Handbook for Those Falsely Accused of Felonies is a surreal tour of America’s court systems; criminal and civil, real and televised.”

Lawyer and Author Elizabeth L Silver’s (C’01, Kelly Writers House, Teatron) debut novel THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON was published by Crown/Random House in the US and Headline Review in the UK.  The novel is set in Philadelphia with many scenes at Penn.  …Plus, her agent Richard Pine (C’77) and agent’s assistant Eliza Rothstein (C’09) all went to Penn too! (more Penn alumni working together!)    The shpiel:

“Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. 

Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa’s sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.

Marlene desperately wants Noa to reveal the events that led to her daughter’s death – events that Noa has never shared with a soul. With death looming, Marlene believes that Noa may finally give her the answers she needs, though Noa is far from convinced that Marlene deserves the salvation she alone can deliver. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human in this haunting tale of love, anguish, and deception.”

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