Orange Is the online New sale Black: My Year in a Women's Prison outlet online sale

Orange Is the online New sale Black: My Year in a Women's Prison outlet online sale

Orange Is the online New sale Black: My Year in a Women's Prison outlet online sale
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#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

Review

“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

About the Author

Piper Kerman is vice president of a Washington, D.C.–based communications firm that works with foundations and nonprofits. A graduate of Smith College, she lives in Brooklyn.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One


Are You Gonna Go My Way?

International baggage claim in the Brussels airport was large and airy, with multiple carousels circling endlessly. I scurried from one to another, desperately trying to find my black suitcase. Because it was stuffed with drug money, I was more concerned than one might normally be about lost luggage.

I was twenty-three in 1993 and probably looked like just another anxious young professional woman. My Doc Martens had been jettisoned in favor of beautiful handmade black suede heels. I wore black silk pants and a beige jacket, a typical jeune fille, not a bit counterculture, unless you spotted the tattoo on my neck. I had done exactly as I had been instructed, checking my bag in Chicago through Paris, where I had to switch planes to take a short flight to Brussels.

When I arrived in Belgium, I looked for my black rollie at the baggage claim. It was nowhere to be seen. Fighting a rushing tide of panic, I asked in my mangled high school French what had become of my suitcase. “Bags don’t make it onto the right flight sometimes,” said the big lug working in baggage handling. “Wait for the next shuttle from Paris—it’s probably on that plane.”

Had my bag been detected? I knew that carrying more than $10,000 undeclared was illegal, let alone carrying it for a West African drug lord. Were the authorities closing in on me? Maybe I should try to get through customs and run? Or perhaps the bag really was just delayed, and I would be abandoning a large sum of money that belonged to someone who could probably have me killed with a simple phone call. I decided that the latter choice was slightly more terrifying. So I waited.

The next flight from Paris finally arrived. I sidled over to my new “friend” in baggage handling, who was sorting things out. It is hard to flirt when you’re frightened. I spotted the suitcase. “Mon bag!” I exclaimed in ecstasy, seizing the Tumi. I thanked him effusively, waving with giddy affection as I sailed through one of the unmanned doors into the terminal, where I spotted my friend Billy waiting for me. I had inadvertently skipped customs.

“I was worried. What happened?” Billy asked.

“Get me into a cab!” I hissed.

I didn’t breathe until we had pulled away from the airport and were halfway across Brussels.

My graduation processional at Smith College the year before was on a perfect New England spring day. In the sun-dappled quad, bagpipes whined and Texas governor Ann Richards exhorted my classmates and me to get out there and show the world what kind of women we were. My family was proud and beaming as I took my degree. My freshly separated parents were on their best behavior, my stately southern grandparents pleased to see their oldest grandchild wearing a mortarboard and surrounded by WASPs and ivy, my little brother bored out of his mind. My more organized and goal-oriented classmates set off for their graduate school programs or entry-level jobs at nonprofits, or they moved back home—not uncommon during the depths of the first Bush recession.

I, on the other hand, stayed on in Northampton, Massachusetts. I had majored in theater, much to the skepticism of my father and grandfather. I came from a family that prized education. We were a clan of doctors and lawyers and teachers, with the odd nurse, poet, or judge thrown into the mix. After four years of study I still felt like a dilettante, underqualified and unmotivated for a life in the theater, but neither did I have an alternate plan, for academic studies, a meaningful career, or the great default—law school.

I wasn’t lazy. I had always worked hard through my college jobs in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, winning the affection of my bosses and coworkers via sweat, humor, and a willingness to work doubles. Those jobs and those people were more my speed than many of the people I had met at college. I was glad that I had chosen Smith, a college full of smart and dynamic women. But I was finished with what was required of me by birth and background. I had chafed within the safe confines of Smith, graduating by a narrow margin, and I longed to experience, experiment, investigate. It was time for me to live my own life.

I was a well-educated young lady from Boston with a thirst for bohemian counterculture and no clear plan. But I had no idea what to do with all my pent-up longing for adventure, or how to make my eagerness to take risks productive. No scientific or analytical bent was evident in my thinking—what I valued was artistry and effort and emotion. I got an apartment with a fellow theater grad and her nutty artist girlfriend, and a job waiting tables at a microbrewery. I bonded with fellow waitrons, bartenders, and musicians, all equally nubile and constantly clad in black. We worked, we threw parties, we went skinny-dipping or sledding, we fucked, sometimes we fell in love. We got tattoos.

I enjoyed everything Northampton and the surrounding Pioneer Valley had to offer. I ran for miles and miles on country lanes, learned how to carry a dozen pints of beer up steep stairs, indulged in numerous romantic peccadilloes with appetizing girls and boys, and journeyed to Provincetown for midweek beach excursions on my days off throughout the summer and fall.

When winter set in, I began to grow uneasy. My friends from school told me about their jobs and their lives in New York, Washington, and San Francisco, and I wondered what the hell I was doing. I knew I wasn’t going back to Boston. I loved my family, but the fallout of my parents’ divorce was something I wanted to avoid completely. In retrospect a EuroRail ticket or volunteering in Bangladesh would have been brilliant choices, but I stayed stuck in the Valley.
Among our loose social circle was a clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-thirties. These worldly and sophisticated older women made me feel uncharacteristically shy, but when several of them moved in next door to my apartment, we became friends. Among them was a raspy-voiced midwesterner named Nora Jansen who had a mop of curly sandy-brown hair. Nora was short and looked a bit like a French bulldog, or maybe a white Eartha Kitt. Everything about her was droll—her drawling, wisecracking husky voice, the way she cocked her head to look at you with bright brown eyes from under her mop, even the way she held her ever-present cigarette, wrist flexed and ready for gesture. She had a playful, watchful way of drawing a person out, and when she paid you attention, it felt as if she were about to let you in on a private joke. Nora was the only one of that group of older women who paid any attention to me. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but in Northampton, to a twenty-two-year-old looking for adventure, she was a figure of intrigue.

And then, in the fall of 1992, she was gone.

She reappeared after Christmas. Now she rented a big apartment of her own, furnished with brand-new Arts and Crafts–style furniture and a killer stereo. Everyone else I knew was sitting on thrift store couches with their roommates, while she was throwing money around in a way that got attention.

Nora asked me out for a drink, just the two of us, which was a first. Was it a date? Perhaps it was, because she took me to the bar of the Hotel Northampton, the closest local approximation to a swank hotel lounge, painted pale green with white trelliswork everywhere. I nervously ordered a margarita with salt, at which Nora arched a brow.

“Sort of chilly for a marg?” she commented, as she asked for a scotch.

It was true, the January winds were making western Massachusetts uninviting. I should have ordered something dark in a smaller glass—my frosty margarita now seemed ridiculously juvenile.

“What’s that?” she asked, indicating the little metal box I had placed on the table.

The box was yellow and green and had originally held Sour Lemon pastilles. Napoleon gazed westward from its lid, identifiable by his cocked hat and gold epaulettes. The box had served as a wallet for a woman I’d known at Smith, an upperclasswoman who was the coolest person I had ever met. She had gone to art school, lived off campus, was wry and curious and kind and superhip, and one day when I had admired the box, she gave it to me. It was the perfect size for a pack of cigarettes, a license, and a twenty. When I tried to pull money out of my treasured tin wallet to pay for the round, Nora waved it away.

Where had she been for so many months? I asked, and Nora gave me an appraising once-over. She calmly explained to me that she had been brought into a drug-smuggling enterprise by a friend of her sister, who was “connected,” and that she had gone to Europe and been formally trained in the ways of the underworld by an American art dealer who was also “connected.” She had smuggled drugs into this country and been paid handsomely for her work.

I was completely floored. Why was Nora telling me this? What if I went to the police? I ordered another drink, half-certain that Nora was making the entire thing up and that this was the most harebrained seduction attempt ever.
I had met Nora’s younger sister once before, when she came to visit. She went by the name of Hester, was into the occult, and would leave a trail of charms and feathered trinkets made of chicken bones. I thought she was just a Wiccan heterosexual version of her sister, but apparently she was the lover of a West African drug kingpin. Nora described how she had traveled with Hester to Benin to meet the kingpin, who went by the name Alaji and bore a striking resemblance to MC Hammer. She had stayed as a guest at his compound, witnessed and been subject to “witch-doctor” ministrations, and was now considered his sister-in-law. It all sounded dark, awful, scary, wild—and exciting beyond belief. I couldn’t believe that she, the keeper of so many terrifying and tantalizing secrets, was taking me into her confidence.

It was as if by revealing her secrets to me, Nora had bound me to her, and a secretive courtship began. No one would call Nora a classic beauty, but she had wit and charm in excess and was a master at the art of seeming effortlessness. And as has always been true, I respond to people who come after me with clear determination. In her seduction of me, she was both persistent and patient.

Over the months that followed, we grew much closer, and I learned that a number of local guys I knew were secretly working for her, which proved reassuring to me. I was entranced by the illicit adventure Nora represented. When she was in Europe or Southeast Asia for a long period of time, I all but moved into her house, caring for her beloved black cats, Edith and Dum-Dum. She would call at odd hours of the night from the other side of the globe to see how the kitties were, and the phone line would click and hiss with the distance. I kept all this quiet—even as I was dodging questions from my already-curious friends.

Since business was conducted out of town, the reality of the drugs felt like a complete abstraction to me. I didn’t know anyone who used heroin; and the suffering of addiction was not something I thought about. One day in the spring Nora returned home with a brand-new white Miata convertible and a suitcase full of money. She dumped the cash on the bed and rolled around in it, naked and giggling. It was her biggest payout yet. Soon I was zipping around in that Miata, with Lenny Kravitz on the tape deck demanding to know, “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”

Despite (or perhaps because of) the bizarre romantic situation with Nora, I knew I needed to get out of Northampton
and do something. My friend Lisa B. and I had been saving our tips and decided that we would quit our jobs at the brewery and take off for San Francisco at the end of the summer. (Lisa knew nothing about Nora’s secret activities.) When I told Nora, she replied that she would love to have an apartment in San Francisco and suggested that we fly out there and house-hunt. I was shocked that she felt so strongly about me.

Just weeks before I was to leave Northampton, Nora learned that she had to return to Indonesia. “Why don’t you come with me, keep me company?” she suggested. “You don’t have to do anything, just hang out.”

I had never been out of the United States. Although I was supposed to begin my new life in California, the prospect was irresistible. I wanted an adventure, and Nora had one on offer. Nothing bad had ever happened to the guys from Northampton who had gone with her to exotic places as errand boys—in fact, they returned with high-flying stories that only a select group could even hear. I rationalized that there was no harm in keeping Nora company. She gave me money to purchase a ticket from San Francisco to Paris and said there would be a ticket to Bali waiting for me at the Garuda Air counter at Charles de Gaulle. It was that simple.

Nora’s cover for her illegal activities was that she and her partner in crime, a goateed guy named Jack, were starting an art and literary magazine—questionable, but it lent itself to vagueness. When I explained to my friends and family that I was moving to San Francisco and would be working and traveling for the magazine, they were uniformly surprised and suspicious of my new job, but I rebuffed their questions, adopting the air of a woman of mystery. As I drove out of Northampton headed west with my buddy Lisa, I felt as if I were finally embarking on my life. I felt ready for anything.

Lisa and I drove nonstop from Massachusetts to the Montana border, taking turns sleeping and driving. In the middle of the night we pulled into a rest stop to sleep, where we awoke to see the incredible golden eastern Montana dawn. I could not remember ever being so happy. After lingering in Big Sky country, we sped through Wyoming and Nevada until finally we sailed over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. I had a plane to catch.

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
7,976 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Bibliophile
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
No depth, boring.
Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2020
I know this review is late in the game but here goes. I bought the book, recently, because it was only about $7 bucks and I needed a few dollars more to get free shipping on my other item/s. I did enjoy the Netflix series and of course I didn''t expect the book... See more
I know this review is late in the game but here goes.

I bought the book, recently, because it was only about $7 bucks and I needed a few dollars more to get free shipping on my other item/s. I did enjoy the Netflix series and of course I didn''t expect the book would be the same. I had even read some of the negative reviews a few years back, but I was curious and I thought, could it really be that bad. It was. For a woman with an Ivy League education she writes like a middle schooler, though not surprising as her maturity level demonstrated by her though processes don''t seem to go much beyond that stage.

Aside from being extremely boring, Ms. Kerman seems to think/act as if she''s in (and winning) the title of most popular girl in school. She claims, near the end of the book, to have learned some life lessons and has transformed her perspective after spending a year in prison, but this sure isn''t reflected in her attitudes in this book that was written post transformation. I was especially bothered that whenever she talked about other inmates she felt the need to describe them by their race or ethnicity, rather than as actual people these women were. They were so much more than Spanish Mamis, or large black women, or Italians, yet this is constant and repetitious throughout the narrative. When she refers to other white prisoners she manages to add adjectives to demonstrate that while they''re indeed white, they are of a much lower class than she. This, to me, speaks volumes about who Piper Kerman really is. A woman who, though she claims otherwise, doesn''t have a clue about her whiteness or the privelege that affords. Not only did she have the advantage of this privelege in getting top shelf representation and a relatively short sentence; her confinement was made easier due to access to money (commissary) and many regular frequent visitors. Unlike most of the women she served time with, many of them would go to homeless shelters and had few or no options, Ms. Kerman had a good job custom created and waiting for her. I''m sure that any one of the other inmates would have had a much more interesting story, but once out they were probably too busy trying to survive to be able to write their prison memoirs.

Quite honestly, she claims that prison was horrible, and I''m not disputing that, but her experience seems pretty mild compared to horror stories I''ve heard about life inside prisons. I think she got off pretty easy, lucky for her.

The picture (included here) of the author on the back cover kind of says it all; her pose, her body language, face thrust upward, seems to say I''m better than you.
26 people found this helpful
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Jessie's Book Blog
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Way Different From the Show
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2016
Like most people, I was first introduced to this story from the show on Netflix. While waiting for the new season to come out it prompted me to buy the book and see how similar it was to Hollywood''s spin on things. The book is MUCH different than the show. And better. The... See more
Like most people, I was first introduced to this story from the show on Netflix. While waiting for the new season to come out it prompted me to buy the book and see how similar it was to Hollywood''s spin on things. The book is MUCH different than the show. And better. The book, while it is a memoir written by Piper, makes her out to be a much better person than the Piper on the TV show. Now, if you haven''t read the book or seen the TV show and you have plans to, I suggest you stop reading because there are SPOILERS ahead....

The real Piper, whose last name is Kerman and not Chapman, didn''t seem as conniving or crazy as the TV show Piper. She didn''t take part in a dirty panties operation, didn''t do her time with Alex Voss (only a few short weeks when they were testifying in Chicago), and never got starved by the head kitchen worker. As an avid reader, I get it - the book is always different than when Hollywood takes over and makes dramatic effect on it.

The book was very informative - it displayed women bonding in a situation that is less than desirable for most of the human population. While most women, when put together with other women in cramped up places usually proves as challenging and scary, Piper Kerman talked about the positives when it came to serving time together. She included many details that the show leaves out - it was nice to actually get in her head and feel the emotions of doing time.

I''m giving it 4 stars because it took me a little longer to finish than other books. While not a bad book, there were parts where I had a hard time focusing because it felt repetitive and unnecessary. If you were into the TV show, check this out. While there are shades of similarities, the book is extremely different than what Netflix has shared with us.
107 people found this helpful
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Andrew Bansal
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I read the book AFTER watching the Netflix series ... and ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2020
OITNB the book is VERY different from OITNB the Netflix series, in every way imaginable. The book carries a far more focused agenda than that of the web TV series, and comes across as decidedly more uplifting, heartwarming, positive, and ... real. After binge-watching the... See more
OITNB the book is VERY different from OITNB the Netflix series, in every way imaginable. The book carries a far more focused agenda than that of the web TV series, and comes across as decidedly more uplifting, heartwarming, positive, and ... real. After binge-watching the entire Netflix series within a week (thank you, COVID-19) and then immediately ordering and reading the book right after, I have come to the conclusion that the style in which the book is written would not make for a great TV show, and vice versa is true for the TV show. But it''s certainly very, very interesting to consume and compare both variants. I''m not one to spoil the book, or the TV series, so I''ll just leave it at that.

I highly recommend this book, not just to fans of the corresponding Netflix adaptation of OITNB, but generally to fans of biographies, memoirs, prison tales and rehabilitation / redemption stories. I found OITNB to be a quick, fun read, as I finished the 300-page book within a total duration of 7 hours spread across 3 days. The real-life Piper Kerman sure is an inspiration, and I''d be very much inclined to read more of her works, if she goes on to write any in future. Kudos to her for a brilliantly written book.
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Charesse
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
NOTHING like the show
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2019
I bought the book after i finished the series. I knew it would be different. But, what i didn''t expect, was that it would be so incredibly uneventful. So, with that, here are my thoughts: 1. I understand what she wanted to do by writing this book. And she... See more
I bought the book after i finished the series. I knew it would be different. But, what i didn''t expect, was that it would be so incredibly uneventful. So, with that, here are my thoughts:

1. I understand what she wanted to do by writing this book. And she did accomplish that. From the very beginning i questioned why we are wasting so many resources locking up people (not just women) who are committing such minor crimes. Those that are clearly no danger to themselves or society. I also feel like our prison systems could better prepare prisoners to transition to the outside world.

2. I also feel like someone (i''m not sure who) decided that the story needed more drama. And, knowing that a lot of people will watch TV instead of read the book, including extremely inaccurate stories into the series really makes it seem like the actual story (book) wasn''t good enough.

I like non-fiction, but i honestly feel like i wasted my time on the book. I feel like 80% of it was telling the reader how "good" of a person she was. The best part was the 20% spent actually explaining the different prison systems and the jerks that work there.
8 people found this helpful
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Jennifer Lane
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''ll Steer Clear of Orange Jumpsuits, Please
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2015
Prison fascinates and horrifies me. My favorite TV show is Prison Break, so I thought I''d give Orange is the New Black show a try. While the TV show wasn''t for me, I''m glad I read this memoir about an upper-middle-class woman who goes to prison for a year. I had the... See more
Prison fascinates and horrifies me. My favorite TV show is Prison Break, so I thought I''d give Orange is the New Black show a try. While the TV show wasn''t for me, I''m glad I read this memoir about an upper-middle-class woman who goes to prison for a year. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a book reading/signing at a women''s prison, and she is lovely in real life.

Piper Kerman''s real-life story chronicling her year in prison is insightful and thought-provoking.

At times the writing impressed me, like this vivid description:

"Miss Sanchez had long Frito-chip fingernails painted Barbie pink."

There are interesting insights into prison life.

"Prison is quite literally a ghetto in the most classic sense of the word, a place where the US government not puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient--people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled. Meanwhile, the ghetto in the outside world is a prison as well, and a much more difficult one to escape from. In fact, there is basically a revolving door between our urban and rural ghettos and the formal ghetto of our prison system."

My favorite "character" is the Russian wife of a mobster, Pop. Pop is the head cook, and gives invaluable advice to Piper.

This story makes the reader inevitably wonder how she would handle imprisonment. I resonated with Piper helping an inmate write a paper. I also would try to fit exercise into my daily routine to stay sane. But really, it''s hard to imagine how awful imprisonment would be.

The groping from male guards infuriated me:

"Other male COs were brazen, like the short, red-faced young bigmouth who asked me loudly and repeatedly, "Where are the weapons of mass destruction?" while he fondled me and I gritted my teeth.

There was absolutely no payoff for filing a complaint. A female prisoner who alleges sexual misconduct on the part of a guard is invariably locked in the SHU in "protective custody", losing her housing assignment, program actives, work assignment, and a host of other prison privileges, not to mention the comfort of her routine and friends."

I like how prison statistics (like one out of 100 adults are locked up in the US) are told factually without a preachy tone. I''m also glad Piper mentioned feeling remorse for trafficking drugs--the very drugs that may have been used by her fellow inmates as part of their crimes. I can get behind the decriminalization of drugs for personal use, but I disagree with the notion that drug dealers are never violent.

Overall, a good read, and I''m impressed Piper is giving back by teaching writing to prisoners.
27 people found this helpful
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Kathleen Amirault
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Surprisingly good book
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2019
I had avoided reading this book and had not seen the series although I like and respect many of the actors. So it was a surprise to start enjoying and empathizing with the story and Piper. The fear she expresses about her situation is palpable and the deep personal... See more
I had avoided reading this book and had not seen the series although I like and respect many of the actors. So it was a surprise to start enjoying and empathizing with the story and Piper. The fear she expresses about her situation is palpable and the deep personal reckoning is akin to personal awakenings I’ve experienced albeit not in prison. The sisterhood she learns to rely on and love is real and rewarding. Thus was a worthy read and I learned something reading it - which is the most important reward of a good book. Thanks Piper for having the guts to put it down on paper and throwing it out there.
5 people found this helpful
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Brenda S
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Boring
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2019
I found myself wondering how this book received an overall rating of 4 stars when I purchased it. I found it incredibly boring. Yes, I was introduced to it via the tv show however I began reading with the knowledge that the book would be different...usually the book is... See more
I found myself wondering how this book received an overall rating of 4 stars when I purchased it. I found it incredibly boring. Yes, I was introduced to it via the tv show however I began reading with the knowledge that the book would be different...usually the book is better. Not in this case... I forced myself to read the first 2/3 of the book hoping for something interesting but finally I had to stop, I couldn’t finish the book.

If you are reading the book hoping to find a small glimmer of similarity to the series don’t waste your money. This is literally a day to day account of prison life and nothing more...there is NOTHING interesting in her year in prison.
4 people found this helpful
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wolf
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Orange is what you make it
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2017
I very much enjoyed reading purely from Piper''s perspective. The writing is vivid, she reserves judgment of most of those she''s incarcerated with, and she gives the reader clear insight into how her prison experience changed her in so many ways for the rest of her life. I... See more
I very much enjoyed reading purely from Piper''s perspective. The writing is vivid, she reserves judgment of most of those she''s incarcerated with, and she gives the reader clear insight into how her prison experience changed her in so many ways for the rest of her life. I suppose I took away one star only because I''ve been such a fan of the series, which is so packed with action and filled with both nasty and lovable characters that I kept expecting the story to "light up" like the screen. On the other hand, I found that Piper and Larry''s relationship was genuine, one which provided Piper some measure of stability the character lacks, unlike her on again, off again relationship with Alex in the series.
9 people found this helpful
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Mrs Helen S Leecy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2020
I absolutely love the TV series, so I have been a bit reluctant to read this as I’m not a big fan of reading a book after watching either the series or movie. However, I needed a book to fill my ‘a book with a colour in the title’ reading challenge category and this fit...See more
I absolutely love the TV series, so I have been a bit reluctant to read this as I’m not a big fan of reading a book after watching either the series or movie. However, I needed a book to fill my ‘a book with a colour in the title’ reading challenge category and this fit that bill perfectly, so I decided to give it a try. I requested the Kindle sample to begin with just to make sure I enjoyed the writing style but as soon as I finished the sample I swiftly bought the book and carried on reading as I was gripped right from the beginning. Even though the TV series is BASED on this, that is all it is. If you expect to know all the characters, you are going to be disappointed. They all have different names, and even when names you may recognise are mentioned, this doesn’t mean they will have the same personality and characteristics as those from the show. I could identify a few, Pop being the most like Red and Yoga Janet like Yoga Jones. However, Crazy Eyes is completely different as is Pennsatucky. This made it feel as if you were reading a completely different story to that of Piper Chapman from the series. It was great to be able to differentiate between the two and made the book more enjoyable. You were still able to visualise certain scenarios and scenes, however. I’m not sure if reading this while our country is in lockdown was the best idea. We are all locked up in our houses with restricted freedom but reading this really made me appreciate all that I do have in comparison to really being locked up in prison. I still have all my home comforts, my TV programmes, my favourite food and of course my husband and cats. All of these things would be absent in prison, so I really have nothing to complain about. Reading it made me feel quite claustrophobic; however, having all your rights removed and being at the mercy of the CO’s whims is something I can’t even begin to fathom. Even though Piper Kerman’s experience didn’t sound that horrendous compared to how we all think prison could be; it was still a cautionary tale about not breaking the law. I thought the book was excellently written, it evoked all the emotions that she must have been feeling and I’m delighted I read it to experience the real Piper’s story.
8 people found this helpful
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Boingboing
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Importance of shower shoes and a gazillion uses for maxi-pads.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2019
Would I have read this book if I hadn''t already seen a couple of series of the TV show in Amazon Prime? In all honesty, probably not. But I''m glad that I did read it because I found it to be one of the most well-written ''personal experience'' books I''ve read in a long time....See more
Would I have read this book if I hadn''t already seen a couple of series of the TV show in Amazon Prime? In all honesty, probably not. But I''m glad that I did read it because I found it to be one of the most well-written ''personal experience'' books I''ve read in a long time. Sadly I''ve had rather too many ''my sh*t life'' books written by people who probably should have just given an interview and then shut up about it. In comparison to those, ''Orange is the New Black'' is really refreshing. Firstly it''s well written - not one of those rambling all over the place accounts of difficult times by people who don''t actually seem to be able to remember what happened. Perhaps we should encourage more writers to get locked up so they can produce such good books. Secondly, this is absolutely not a ''poor me'' pity party; quite the opposite. Kerman goes in to prison understandably scared and worried about how the others will react to a middle class, educated white girl, and she makes some amazingly good friends. That''s not to suggest that anybody would WANT to do over a year in an American jail, but she does a great job of seeing the good in people and giving the best of herself to others. The book is almost totally free of self-pity or blaming other people (though maybe a smidge for the evil ex-GF who got her into the drug trade) and filled with realisations that what she did was wrong, should be punished and had consequences for others. Some may say "It''s not as good as the TV show" but it''s more ''real''. TV polishes things to fit a nice story into 40 minutes or so each week and gives every character a compelling back story. This doesn''t. It just takes a bunch of people who made some bad mistakes and gives Piper K the chance to observe and learn from her and their experiences
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Mr. Othniel Smith
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A colourful read...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2019
he book which launched the much-lauded television series (not the mention the gifs, t-shirts etc); this is the true tale of Piper Kerman''s relatively brief sentence for drugs crimes, mostly served in the comparative calm and comfort of a low-security prison in Connecticut....See more
he book which launched the much-lauded television series (not the mention the gifs, t-shirts etc); this is the true tale of Piper Kerman''s relatively brief sentence for drugs crimes, mostly served in the comparative calm and comfort of a low-security prison in Connecticut. Neither pleading innocence nor revelling in her former criminality, Kerman recounts her offences, the long wait for justice, and her jail time with journalistic frankness. The story she tells is unsensational, although the bases for some of the characters and dramas which unfold in the television series are more than evident. Her struggle is simply to survive, and to build relationships with those inmates who are amenable whilst avoiding those who are not. She expresses ire at the ineffectiveness of the prison system to rehabilitate offenders; and gives vent to her despair at the "war on drugs", which sees jails full of relatively low-level, non-violent victims of circumstance and limited opportunity. As an educated middle-class women with a meaningful life on the outside, she is painfully aware of her white privilege. This is a lively, colourful read, especially recommended for those who spout cliches about prison being like a holiday camp - the psychological toll on even someone as centred as Kerman is palpable.
8 people found this helpful
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M. Dowden
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Doing Time in Federal Prison
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2021
The story of Piper Kerman by herself, whose memoir went on to become the basis of the hit tv series. If you have only ever seen the series then you will certainly find this book somewhat different so please be aware of this, so as to avoid disappointment. For Piper, the law...See more
The story of Piper Kerman by herself, whose memoir went on to become the basis of the hit tv series. If you have only ever seen the series then you will certainly find this book somewhat different so please be aware of this, so as to avoid disappointment. For Piper, the law eventually caught up with her for something that she did ten years previously for her girlfriend of that time. Thus, charged with money laundering and drug trafficking so she pleaded guilty and was sent to federal prison for fifteen months. As such this is an average standard prison fare type read, although for Piper it was an eye-opening experience and she now works on various panels to try to change the justice system in the US. Although well enough written and the author as such does not brood on such things as poor little me being caught out, there is still that middle class feel to this as we read of how she feels for others less well off than her. After all this was a woman who could afford legal defence, had many visitors whilst she was incarcerated and was sent lots of packages. I will admit that I did get annoyed at one stage when Piper talks about the frustration of not being able to attend her grandmother’s funeral, my annoyance being that the author is doing time and then somehow was expecting to be given leave to attend a funeral. This is the type of middle-class white person expectation that minorities in the US would not even expect to be offered, so why should she be any different? At the end of the day then you do not really get the feeling of hopelessness and fear that many must experience finding themselves being incarcerated, and we can see that Piper is treated somewhat gently by most people in this book and so there is not enough of the real danger and horror of prison life, just more on the state of the showers and no proper rehabilitation. Kerman is right about the number of people locked up in America and as with this country there are obviously much better and it has to be said, cheaper ways of dealing with some criminals who have done something really petty and could be released into the general populace. They just need to be punished say with community service and given advice and help for where they have gone wrong. The thing that the author does grasp and is trying to do is alter things to try and improve the system, after all those who do obviously need to be locked up are shown here not to be given the chance to improve, alter their behaviour or given advice what to do when leaving the prison system, which in and of itself can cause massive problems, such as leading to re-offending, especially if someone becomes too institutionalized. In all then an average read but not something that really stands above many other such books, and it was really the tv series that has made many read this book.
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WorcesterBlue
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Preferred the series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2019
The book is a memoir by Piper Kerman who is convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut for drug trafficking. The book features many of the story-lines used in the series but there are also major differences including name...See more
The book is a memoir by Piper Kerman who is convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut for drug trafficking. The book features many of the story-lines used in the series but there are also major differences including name changes. I found the book interesting but mainly because I was constantly trying to compare the book to the series. I am pretty sure that there are better books around that cover the same types of experience. I normally prefer books to films but not this time.
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