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
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: 0385523394
Branch Call Number: 365.43092 K395o 2011
Characteristics: 327 p. ;,21 cm


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


Add a Comment

Mar 12, 2015
  • dairyqueen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very engaging memoir of a young woman and how her past catches up with her.

Feb 09, 2015
  • JMFlaherty rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Didn't get around to reading this excellent book til 2014. This was, by far, the best book I read all year. Wish I could get Netflix :(

Jan 08, 2015
  • Starbuckgal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Memoir on a modern lady going to prison.

Oct 19, 2014
  • Dimmu16 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I very much enjoyed this book. It felt real and beautiful.

Sep 15, 2014
  • Septemberly rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This was not the hard-hitting book I was expecting. Instead, it reveals one well-to-do woman's experience in a seemingly comfy prison. For the most part, she makes prison sound like a sort of vacation in a bad hostel. I wonder how true/representative her experience is to what others experience...?

Overall it was an easy, mildly entertaining biography.

Aug 30, 2014
  • BookluvrShPk rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting book. Not sure about all the hype. Will be interesting to see the TV series.

Aug 29, 2014
  • LT rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

If you are looking for the hyper-drama of the television series, you will be disappointed by this book. However, I found Orange is the New Black readable (even suspenseful) and worthwhile. It is both more nuanced and more positive than the series. Piper Kerman writes well, although there is a certain abstraction, even aloofness, to her style. Perhaps she has restricted her story to a strictly factual recounting so as not to be reminded of the emotional fallout from her stay in prison. Usually Kerman is honest with herself and the audience about her biases, but very occasionally there is a hint of classism, possibly racism, and a whiff of callousness. As another reviewer commented, it is sometimes a little difficult to follow the story because of the multitude of characters who are introduced and the short amount of time spent on each of them...Kerman is not writing in-depth profiles here. The book I would love to read is how the relatively mild-mannered characters Kerman describes in the book were transmuted into the drama queens of the television series...was there any factual basis for the stories of the individual women in the series, for instance? Was research done in addition to the descriptions provided in Kerman's work? Kerman's book isn't so much a primer or a guidebook to life on the inside as a very general travelogue.

Aug 26, 2014
  • tuddie rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

i just couldn't find the big interest. very difficult to believe that a woman's prison is a place where everybody loves everybody. no one character lasted long enough to be interesting. i guess i just didn't like the book.

Aug 25, 2014
  • marleymcfarley rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved this book! Just saw all the episodes on netflix....

Aug 24, 2014
  • Cmw8319 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was looking forward to reading the book, since I enjoyed watch the show. It was an alright book some interesting parts, but I prefer the show maybe cause more drama

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

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

ErinMWilson thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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


Add a Quote

Sep 09, 2014
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"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."

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."


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at MCL