Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black

My Year in A Women's Prison

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES
 
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
 
Praise for Orange Is the New Black
 
“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”People (four stars)
 
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”USA Today
 
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”Newsweek
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Baker & Taylor
Follows the author's incarceration for drug trafficking, during which she gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and met a varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.

Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperbacks, 2013
ISBN: 9780812986181
0812986180
Branch Call Number: 365.43 K458o, 2013
Characteristics: 327 p. ; 21 cm

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e
elizabeth88_1
Aug 11, 2018

I must say, I prefer the book to what I've learned about the TV series! It's a lot nicer!

c
CGGanga
Apr 16, 2018

At 24 fucking years old you (Piper) should have know that dealing heroin was a fucking stupid thing to do and I have no sympathy for you. The book was mediocre. I have been told the TV series was much better.

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dprodrig
Dec 07, 2017

The book was decent. I just found it was missing certain things, like more details and I find her writing style cold.

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britprincess1ajax
Aug 07, 2017

After watching the phenomenal show, I had to go back to the source material, Piper Kerman's synonymous memoir. It's markedly different from the series, more serious but not boring or hard-faced. The show takes from the reality described here but sometimes smudges the details, dispersing events to whichever prisoner it suits best. The show-to-book comparisons aside, this novel is incredibly honest or so it feels to me as a reader. I believe every word, like a confession between close friends. What gets me most about ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK is how Kerman crafts each sentence with painstaking precision. She uses beautiful evocative language to describe a dark and dim scenario. She never stutters, always choosing the perfect word to explain. You feel like you're there. Just like the Netflix streaming series, I'm absorbed. (Please note that, although centered on a women's prison, the book and the series will and do appeal to men. Don't feel pushed out. The show isn't here to spout gender rules.) For any reader who wants their eyes pulled open and their hair blown back, I recommend this articulate memoir and scathing expose' of the American prison system ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. (And certainly don't forget about the series.)

s
super_sarah
Jul 04, 2016

I greatly enjoyed this book! I watched the show and was curious how it compared so I read the book. Although very different, I loved the book even more as it felt more real. I definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you love the show!

n
NoraHull
Jun 07, 2016

Since I fell in love with the series on Netflix I wanted to read the book to more fully understand the whole story. The series stays true to the book only to a certain extent. The book is rich with detail and describes Piper's entire journey. I loved how much she was willing to admit, and how well she describes everyone. She was brutally honest and it was refreshing to read. A must read if you love the series! (Plus it's fun to go back and rewatch to see what they incorporated from the book and in what ways)

r
rebmartin31
Jun 01, 2016

I particularly liked the Con-Air sequence. Unimaginably terrifying (and terrible) to be in that situation (commercial flights are already bad enough...).

n
nidus
Apr 07, 2016

Having enjoyed the TV series - Orange is the new Black –I checked out the book which I thought would be a minor adjunct to the series, only to discover that it was a wondrous entity itself. It is a very thought provoking story of a Smith College graduate sentenced to prison in America's overzealous war on drugs. It is so sad to read a first person account of the miserable cruel and sadistic behavior of the correctional officers.

She points out that with only 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s imprisoned people. The abject depravity of the system of police, courts and prisons leads to the daily tally of murder and misery that we see in the news.
It is wonderful that Piper Kerman was able to remain unbroken and achieve fame in revealing the horrors of her incarceration.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Jan 22, 2016

Piper Kerman begins her memoir by describing the flight she took where she smuggled drug money across borders. She discusses how she was intrigued by her jet-setting girlfriend, and was ultimately drawn into the drug trade. She goes to Federal prison for this crime a decade later. At first she believes her case is unusual, but she begins to relate to the other prisoners. There are a few political statements about the effects of the War on Drugs, the inconsistencies in sentencing, and the unequal conditions of different prisons. Mostly Kerman describes her life in prison with some humor and a lot of self-reflection.

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MeReneG
Oct 27, 2015

This isn't a fiction book, so don't expect it to match events in the TV series -- although you can see how some of the characters (e.g., Pops, Pornstach) evolved. More of an inside look at different flavours of the federal prison system in the US, and what incarceration does to -- but certainly not for -- the inmates. Well worth the read.

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Quotes

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b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 07, 2017

"No one who worked in 'corrections' appeared to give any thought to the purpose of our being there, any more than a warehouse clerk would consider the meaning of a can of tomatoes, or try to help those tomatoes understand what the hell they were doing on the shelf."

b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 07, 2017

"Stoicism sure comes in handy when they take away your underpants."

b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 07, 2017

"I shushed her and patted the blond curls she was so proud of, and inside I grieved angrily over the insanity of locking up children, and then returning them to neighborhoods that were more desperate and dangerous than jails."

m
MeReneG
Oct 27, 2015

Great institutions have leaders who are proud of what they do, and who engage with everyone who makes up those institutions, so each person understands their role. But our jailers are generally granted near-total anonymity, like the cartoon executioner who wears a hood to conceal his identity. What is the point, what is the reason, to lock people away for years, when it seems to mean so very little, even to the jailers who hold the key? How can a prisoner understand their punishment to have been worthwhile to anyone, when it's dealt in a way so offhand and indifferent? [pg 293]

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ErinMWilson
Jul 14, 2014

ErinMWilson thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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rima_gabrielle
Jun 05, 2014

rima_gabrielle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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DellaV
Nov 26, 2013

DellaV thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 17 and 99

Summary

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a
aliasdyn
Jul 27, 2016

Piper goes into jail for crimes that was 10 years ago. She speaks of her and the inmates experiences in the prison.

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