My Life with Piper: From Big House to Small Screen, by Larry Smith

Two stars (of five)

Having recently finished Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, I thought it poignant to tackle the short audio-bio of one Larry Smith. Smith is, of course, the real-life Larry Bloom from the show and offers his own perspective on the phenomena that is burning up the Netflix airwaves. Smith uses his short platform to offer up some of his own backstory about meeting Piper and correcting some of the views presented in the show and Piper’s own memoirs. In his short tell-some essay, Smith talks about meeting Piper, their struggles with her incarceration on both sides of the bars, and building a life after Piper’s release. Smith’s audio version includes an interview that includes Piper, where they laugh and offer cucumber sandwich banter about her new-found successes. Tepid seems too stiflingly hot a moniker for this.

Smith’s piece of literature is but an essay, which is made clear in its brevity and the interview portion added to the end of the audio rendition. This short insight into the life of a man whose lesbian girlfriend went off to face punishment, only to return to marry him, is light and even weak at times. Funny, for the reader (listener) to process, Smith makes it clear that he is a writer and lives off the spoils of his writing, yet his prose is so brief and seems to ride off the coattails of Piper’s life, memoir, and the Netflix adaptation. I would have thought, liked even, to get a full perspective of Smith’s struggles with the Piper situation and how he coped. With Piper’s book publication in 2010, and its subsequent success, one would think that Smith could take the time to put together some of his own thoughts in a full-length book over the past four years and not pen a short essay on his sentiments, riddled with Piper events and Netflix show insinuations that he wanted to correct. To show the other side of the coin, Smith had so much potential, but like the character depicting him in the show, he falls flat and looks like an oaf. As it is under 2 hours, I would recommend it to any reader who wants to see the epitome of riding another person’s coattails. Use it for the rush hour commute one day, or even for your jogging regimen, but do not spend money on this. Public libraries use our tax dollars for this reason, though even I would likely critique my taxes being used to obtain such drivel.

Mr. Smith, you shame yourself with such a weak dive into the literary world. Are you sure you are actually published in magazines anyone would have heard of, or are the titles you gave simply more name dropping to bolster a lacklustre image?