Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black

My Year in A Women's Prison

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
68
4
3
 …
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2011
Edition: 2011 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780385523394
0385523394
Branch Call Number: 365.43092 K395o 2011
Characteristics: 327 p. ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

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.

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. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman's story offers a rare look into the live... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

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.

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.

m
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.

s
SeattleSaul
Oct 16, 2015

Most readers would likely read this story after seeing the TV series of the same name and might expect to learn about more salacious and violent acts. This is not the case at all. Nevertheless it is well-worth reading for an understanding of what life really is like for incarcerated women, to learn about real friendships based upon shared losses and to consider exactly what it is that society wants to accomplish by imprisonment. Kerman and most of the other women were jailed for non-violent drug crimes, part of the “War on Drugs.” While admitting to her lapse into crime and taking full responsibility for her actions, she questions the propriety of jail time for these women, given that demand for drugs makes the supply inevitable and highly profitable.
I highly recommend reading this for all the strata of society, law enforcement, law makers and especially the young and vulnerable who may not like the laws on the books but must learn the hard lesson of taking personal account for one’s actions.

r
rpavlacic
Sep 17, 2015

Terrific story about how one woman got caught up in the wrong end of the law by her own carelessness, and how she became an advocate for prison reform in the process. There are too many books about life in men's prisons but relatively few about what it is like for females behind bars. The long wait for a trial does make a mockery of the concept of a speedy trial, even if the author did get a plea bargain for her testimony against others. The title itself speaks volumes about how insane the incarceration system has become in America.

m
mogie
Sep 07, 2015

I found this book quite easy to read and finished it relatively quickly. I enjoyed the writing style. It was not too political and focused on the experiences of the author. The show that it is adapted from has a lot more action (for obvious reasons) yet, I still enjoyed the read and would recommend it to others

g
gogo12127
Sep 03, 2015

The book is quite different from the series, at least Season One of the series, which is the season I have watched thus far.
I cannot recall any of the incidents that took place in the book as having occurred in Season One of the series or any of the incidents that took place in the series as having occurred in the book.
The book could have used a “Cast of Characters,” because so many individual float in and out of the story that it's difficult to remember who is who.
Having said all that, I really liked the book.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

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]

b
britprincess1
Sep 09, 2014

"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
britprincess1
Jun 24, 2014

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

b
britprincess1
Jun 24, 2014

"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."

Age

Add Age Suitability

e
ErinMWilson
Jul 14, 2014

ErinMWilson thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

r
rima_gabrielle
Jun 05, 2014

rima_gabrielle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

d
DellaV
Nov 26, 2013

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

Summary

Add a Summary

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.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at MCL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top