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Orange Is the New Black

My Year in A Women's Prison
Kerman, Piper (Book - 2011 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Orange Is the New Black
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When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she'd been when she committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking. Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.
Authors: Kerman, Piper
Title: Orange is the new black
my year in a women's prison
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2011
Edition: 2011 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed
Characteristics: 327 p. ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Piper Kerman
Notes: "Originally published in hardcover and in slightly different form in the United States by Spiegel & Grau in 2010."--T.p. verso
Includes reader's guide
Summary: When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she'd been when she committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking. Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.
ISBN: 0385523394
9780385523394
Branch Call Number: 365.43092 K395o 2011
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references
Subject Headings: Federal Correctional Institution (Danbury, Conn.) Kerman, Piper Women prisoners Connecticut Danbury Reformatories for women Connecticut Danbury
Topical Term: Women prisoners
Reformatories for women
LCCN: 2011501591
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Library Staff

If you got hooked on the Netflix show, or even if you've never seen it, this is a fascinating memoir about the author's very unexpected stint in prison.

Smith College alumna, Piper Kerman has a career, a boyfriend and a loving family when finds herself sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility for having delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years ago as a reckless young woman. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at ti... Read More »

If you got hooked on the netflix show, or even if you've never seen it, this is a fascinating memoir about the author's very unexpected stint in prison.


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Jul 23, 2014
  • estrasil rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Well-written memoir of her time in prison and very eye-opening as to the pitfalls of our prison system.

Jul 14, 2014
  • ErinMWilson rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I found it very interesting to read what it was really like to be in a woman's prison. Most books that I have read on the topic have been about men's prisons and the contrast is very noticeable. Although there is a lot less drama than in the television show, it was still an interesting, unique read.

Jul 05, 2014
  • librarianatlarge rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I haven't seen the Netflix series, but saw the book on the Express Reads shelf and decided to try it. The author's writing is terrible and I just could not get interested in this vapid, twit of a girl.

Jul 03, 2014
  • angeye87 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I love the show, so I thought I'd check out the book. They are very very different. The show is definitely much more entertaining. The book was okay. Interesting to learn about the woman the show is based on though.

Jun 24, 2014
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.)

Jun 18, 2014
  • Piemanthe3rd rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I read the book after watching the series (both season 1 and 2 at this point). I will begin by saying that if you are looking for a novelization of the show this is not the book for you. The show was only loosely based on this book though several events from the book appear in the show almost verbatim. That being said, the book is a fascinating exploration into the American prison system, specifically looking at women's prison which is an area that is rarely explored. The book is fairly well written and kept me interested, though I found Kerman's attempts at commentary on the system as a whole often distracted from the events and could have been saved until the end to go alongside the rest of the overall wrapup. I was also a bit disappointed in the ending, though it is hardly the book or the authors fault: I was simply let down with the true story of it all and how it all finished which makes sense for a story about prison where things don't tend to have positive endings. Overall an interesting book for both fans of the show and those interested in learning about women's prison.

Jun 15, 2014
  • stinaOTR rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I enjoy the show, so I thought, why not? The show, turns out, is very loosely based on the book. Her writing is amateurish and redundant. Characters are flat and everybody loves everybody in this women's "prison." The show is much more fun.

May 25, 2014
  • wiredonjava rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I have not seen the netflix take on this but I can highly recommend reading the book. Piper tell the true story of her experience in prison with vivid detail, humour and remorse.

May 23, 2014
  • Octillion rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I liked the parts about prison operations, Piper's fellow inmates, and how the system is poorly set-up, but I was really turned off by Piper's personal commentary. I understand that her goal was to make the best out of a bad situation, but considering she's from an affluent, upper-class family, her idea of a bad time is instant coffee and people telling her 'no'. When she writes about the other inmates and the struggles they have (addiction, long sentences, lack of education, family abandonment), then starts to talk about her "struggles" of having too many books, being educated, and not having enough spinach in her salad I found myself becoming less and less engaged in the book.

May 20, 2014
  • nplante rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

read the book then watched the DVD - the book is much different to the DVD - which explains why the names were changed. Both are interesting. The DVD is a lot more gritty. Seems like a waste of time to lock up somebody for something they did ten years ago and was no longer a threat to society or committing the same crimes. Would be better use of tax payers money to enforce her to work in a volunteer capacity for some drug program to help those addicted to heroin. In a perfect world right.

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Jul 14, 2014
  • ErinMWilson rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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Jun 05, 2014
  • rima_gabrielle rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

rima_gabrielle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Nov 26, 2013
  • DellaV rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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

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Jun 24, 2014
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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

Jun 24, 2014
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"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."

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