Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison

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Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison

by Piper Kerman

Random House Publishing Group | March 8, 2011 | Trade Paperback

Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison is rated 3.2222 out of 5 by 18.
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
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.com
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8 × 5.17 × 0.74 in

Published: March 8, 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385523394

ISBN - 13: 9780385523394

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Reading I just finished reading Orange is the New Black. I got a used copy of it and wouldn?t recommend buying it new, but if you can get a used copy or borrow a copy from a library, it?s an interesting fast read. One thing for sure, the show has taken some dramatic liberties with the story, but you?ll recognize some of the characters that are mentioned to a mostly lesser extent. Not sure how I would have felt about the book if I hadn?t seen the series first. I agree with a lot of reviewers, as much as it IS an interesting book, the series, with its dramatic liberties IS better than the book, way more captivating, but the book is still worth the read.
Date published: 2014-09-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from B O R I N G I thought I would love this book! Just the opposite....No matter what book I am reading I always try to finish it even when it is boring but this was beyond ....I was skipping pages because I was so bored with it...got halfway through and couldn't take anymore...a lot of writing about nothing its what I read...I would not recommend this book!
Date published: 2014-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Insightful People say the book is always better than the movie. In this case the book and TV show are very different. It is clear that for purposes of television, the Netflix series is much more dramatic and much of it has been fictionalized. If you are expecting the book to be "as exciting" as the show then you will be disappointed. However, the book itself is a fabulous read and it really gives insight into what life in a female prison is really like, without the antics of Hollywood. The memoir was very well written and was a very interesting read. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the show or in the prison system. I finished it in a few hours, it was hard to put down.
Date published: 2014-07-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I expected I must say---I read through this book quickly because it was very interesting! However, I didn't understand the hype. Many people have watched the show on Netflix and said it was amazing, so I was looking forward to reading the book first. I would still recommend this book though.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The one time the adaptation is better than the novel. The novel is intriguing in terms of the storyline but it lacks depth. I feel as though the novel simply grazes the surface and is superficial at best. I wanted more from this self-reflection on prision life. While Piper's experiences are interesting there is no intelligence behind them. The writing was that of a novice. If you are looking for a light easy read this is the book for you. But be aware there is no sense of self within the writing. Having watched numerous documentaries on life in prision; primarly withiin the world of women prisions, I wanted more from the the mindset and hardships. Prision life is anything but easy and while at times many individuals have acted in such a way that prision is nessessary, for many there is no justice behind their sentencing. I have only begun to watch the television adaptatin but thus far I am more intrigued with the adaptation of the memoir as oppose to the novel.
Date published: 2014-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Honest Account of Life in Prison In 1993, Piper Kerman had just graduated from college when she fell for the wrong girl: Nora was an older woman who was involved in an international drug smuggling ring. Piper started following her girlfriend in her frequent trips, and one day Nora asked her to smuggle a suitcase full of money from the United States to Belgium. When her baggage was almost lost in transit, Piper realized she was in way over her head, and she escaped and settled in San Francisco. Her short criminal past was behind her, and she was going to build a new life. She started a relationship with a new boyfriend, Larry Smith, and after a while they decided to move to New York. Five years later, two Customs agents showed up at her door: she was indicted for money laundering and drug trafficking. In 2004, after years of legal proceedings, she was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison, 13 months with good behavior. Orange is the New Black tells her story behind bars in a minimum-security facility in Danbury, CT. Piper Kerman writes honestly about her experience as an inmate. She tells the reader about her fears and loneliness at the beginning of her sentence. In movies or on TV, prison is always depicted as a very violent place, but that's not what the author has experienced. In fact, women show a surprising solidarity in prison, and Piper Kerman makes many friends during her 13-month incarceration. Sometimes it is a little hard keeping track of all the people mentioned in the book, as inmates arrive in prison, are released or are transferred somewhere else all the time. In the end, this book allows the author to denounce the failing of the prison system in the US. For example, it costs between $20,000 to $50,000 per year to keep one inmate in prison, and most of the prisoners are non-violent offenders who could do community service instead. Piper Kerman also points out that reinsertion programs are almost non-existent for people who come out of prison. Most prisoners are not as lucky as her when they are released. She had a boyfriend, an apartment and a job waiting for her, but most former inmates don't have any of that, and that's why recidivism is so high. Orange is the New Black was a really interesting read, and I learnt a lot about prison. In addition, I really admire Piper Kerman for staying positive during this awful experience and for her activism since her release. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title is a wee bit of a mistery. Well worth the read.
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Series is Way Better Finished reading the book and started watching the series because I did enjoy the book somewhat. I am not sure if the author left out a lot in the book or that the series just went crazy with the story line. In all honesty I did prefer the first season it was more interesting and more exciting I kept waiting for the next episode, while I did not have that eager feeling for each new chapter.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring This was not well-written and not very interesting.
Date published: 2014-02-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed Save your money and borrow from the library. Hopefully the tv series is more interesting than this book was!  D.I.S.A.P.P.O.I.N.T.I.N.G!
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An inside look This was an interesting and candid inside look at the female prison system. Ultimately it is more about the relationships Piper forms with her fellow inmates than it is the drama of what actually transpires. In fact, a surprising criticism is the almost total lack of drama. The book plodded along, and while interesting, the plot (if you can have a "plot" in a memoir) doesn't ebb and flow toward any big event. My biggest takeaway from the book was Piper's narrative on how the prison system does little (ok, nothing in her view) to prepare prisoners for re-intergration with the outside world. This is starkly portrayed and entirely dismaying. In sum, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to watching its reincarnation Hollywood-style for netflix.
Date published: 2014-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orange is the New Black This book shpould be mandatory reading for high school students!!!  Excellent!
Date published: 2013-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting bio When I heard Netflix was turning a memoir into an original series for their viewers I was intrigued. Orange is the New Black is the story of Piper Kerman, who served just a year in a women’s minimum-security prison. Being the nerdy person I am, I refused to start watching the series until I read the book, despite the shining endorsement a friend gave the former. Kerman’s story is about how she was young and looking for adventure and got caught up with the wrong crowd. She dated a woman who was involved with a drug dealer and Kerman helped her girlfriend move money across Europe. Kerman quickly tired of that life and moved away. She ended up dating a man and moving to New York when the feds show up years later and arrest her for drug trafficking. Eventually, she’s sentenced to 15 months in a women’s prison.  Kerman’s experience is interesting as she interacts with women of all walks of life. She also learns valuable life lessons while in there, like realizing that her actions still impacted the lives of those who were drug addicts or had family involved in drugs, even if she wasn’t doing drugs moving drugs herself. Kerman tends to get repetitive when she talks about her family and her fiancé. She continuously talks about how her actions impacted them and how grateful and impressed she was with their unconditional love and support.  It was a very easy read, for a biography. I found I was able to breeze through the book and enjoyed her look into what happened in the prison system and her glimpse into the women who were incarcerated with her. She does an excellent job of making her fellow prisoners sympathetic. You want them to get out of jail and succeed, but Kerman paints the picture that the United States Department of Correction does not prepare the women properly. Now that I’m done the book, I can finally watch the show. I spoke with my friend about what was happening in the show and from what she told me, I think the show might deviate quite a bit from the book. But that won’t stop me from wanting to see Piper Kerman’s story come to life through the TV.
Date published: 2013-11-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ok story I'm reading this, and only finished it, for my book club. The concept is good, the situation lends itself to a really good story, but the writing is quite poor in that it is superficial and disjointed which is a let down considering this is about this woman's life and a first time imprisonment. Lots of opportunity for emotion, imagery, interesting characters and story lines, but none of that really happens. She writes about a situation and tells you how mad she was, but there is no emotion in her writing that would lead the reader to that emotion. I'm not sure I would recommend this to anybody. I guess the upside is that it is a quick, simple, fluff read.
Date published: 2013-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Throughly enjoyed this read For someone that doesn't usually read biographies, I couldn't put this book down. I was (like most people) intrigued by the story as I saw the preview on Netflix. Although this is the more realistic read, I could do without some of the over-the-top dramatizations on the show...however, I understand the need to be appealing to all audiences. The book is clearly the 'clean' version.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and well written This is a very well written and engaging book. It pulls you in right at the first page and holds your interest throughout most of the book. It did drag in some spots and was repetitive in others. What struck me was it seemed the author didn't think her crime was serious enough to result in doing time. She repeatedly tucked in little comments about small time crimes, unfair mandatory sentencing and blaming others for her decisions. The fact of the matter is, she smuggled drug money and that is a crime. The only part of the book that made me think she really understood how serious her crime was is this statement: "what made me finally recognize the indifferent cruelty of my own past actions wasn't the constraint put on me by the government, nor the fact that I could not be with the man I loved. It was sitting and talking and working with and knowing the people who suffered because of what people like me had done." I'm glad she learned something from being in prison and seeing the damage "people like her" have done and continue to do to other people. Hopefully other people who have been sent to prison will learn from their mistakes also. The author also mentioned several times that the prison did not offer the opportunity for inmates to learn transferable skills- skills to take with them when they leave prison and need to survive on the outside. However, I feel she contradicts herself when she makes this statement because much of the book is about the work and the classes she took part in while in prison. Construction, electrical, plumbing, GED, cooking, cleaning, job fairs, business classes, dog training- all of these programs offer transferable skills. I liked that she listed many organizations that exist to help families in need and to help inmates who are re-entering the community succeed. I wonder if she still keeps in contact with some of the "friends" she made while in prison or if those women were just friends of circumstance. She is now in a position to help a lot of people, I hope she takes advantage of the opportunity to do so. Overall, it was an interesting read. It was different to read about the prison experience from a 'woman of privilege' point of view.
Date published: 2013-09-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beware : Not the story you were anticipating.... While this is a good read with an inspiring ending it is not the sensationalised story you may have watched on Netflix. The Netflix series is very dramatic with many topical issues affecting the characters, however most of these issues do not exist in the book. It is a great story in terms of the drama Piper is facing and the issues that arise from her choices . I really like that it is a jumping off point for raising awareness of the plight of others with references for what to do , how and where . However,it does not hook you in like the drama of the relationships in the series. I strongly recommend the book be read before the series is watched. Apparently Fiction is more entertaining than fact....
Date published: 2013-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different from the Netflix series but worth reading I bought the book after watching the series on Netflix, based on this book. The series is much more exciting because it is not only about Piper. They added lots of drama. They have stories involving the other characters. The book is rather positive about her experience, because of the support she had from many people. What is very good in the book is her vision of the prison system in the USA. There are too many people in prison for small crimes. It is the same in Canada and it is costing us a lot of money. She has a section in the end giving information about some possible help that is available. She insists a lot about the fact that her situation was very different from what other women in prison were living. They had nothing waiting for them on the outside. The book is very well written. As I write this review, the price for the book is very good here even taking into account the shipping cost. The paperback was easy to read and I would not buy the hardcover version. This is not an exceptional book that you will read over and over.
Date published: 2013-08-01

– More About This Product –

Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison

by Piper Kerman

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8 × 5.17 × 0.74 in

Published: March 8, 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385523394

ISBN - 13: 9780385523394

About the Book

A compelling, often hilarious, and unfailingly compassionate portrait of life inside a women's prison, "Orange Is the New Black" tells Kerman's dramatic story of her 15 months behind bars.

Read from the Book

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 de
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From the Publisher

NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
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.com
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

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.

Editorial Reviews

“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.com

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