Orange Is The New Black (movie Tie-in Edition): My Year In A Women's Prison

by Piper Kerman

Random House Publishing Group | August 6, 2013 | Trade Paperback

Orange Is The New Black (movie Tie-in Edition): My Year In A Women's Prison is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.
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 × 5.2 × 0.7 in

Published: August 6, 2013

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812986180

ISBN - 13: 9780812986181

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't put it down! Imagine you are a middle class, well educated woman with a stable job and in love - then, imagine being sent to jail for a year on an old drug-related crime. What would going to jail be like? What's it like to live with other prisoners, many with longer sentences? Piper lets you know!
Date published: 2013-10-01

– More About This Product –

Orange Is The New Black (movie Tie-in Edition): My Year In A Women's Prison

Orange Is The New Black (movie Tie-in Edition): My Year In A Women's Prison

by Piper Kerman

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.7 in

Published: August 6, 2013

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812986180

ISBN - 13: 9780812986181

Read from the Book

Chapter OneAre 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
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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

“Kerman’s book is a fascinating look down the rabbit hole that is prison… Unforgettable.” –People “Orange transcends the memoir genre's usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you. You'd expect bad behavior in prison. But it's the moments of joy, friendship and kindness that the author experienced that make Orange so moving and lovely…You sense [Kerman] wrote Orange to make readers think not about her but her fellow inmates. And, boy, does she succeed.” –USA Today "In Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, Kerman puts us inside, from the first strip search...to the prison-issue unwashed underwear to the cucumbers and raw cauliflower that count as salad.... This book is impossible to put down because she could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter."–Los Angeles Times  "Kerman neither sentimentalizes nor lectures. She keeps the details of her despair to a minimum along with her discussion of the outrages of the penal system, concentrating instead on descriptions of her direct experiences, both harrowing and hilarious, and the personalities of the women who shared them with her." –Boston Globe“Vivid, revealing…” —Entertainment Weekly “[An] insightful and often very funny book…” —Salon.com “Ten years after a fleeting post-Smith College flirtation with drug trafficking, Piper Kerman was arrested–a P.O.W. in the war on drugs. In Orange Is the New Black (Spiegel & Grau), Kerman presents–devoid of self-pity, and with novelistic f
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Bookclub Guide

1. Piper, a graduate of Smith College and, arguably, an unlikely candidate for incarceration, gets involved in a drug ring shortly after graduation. This dangerous activity stands in sharp contrast to her previously safe, law-abiding life. What do you think precipitated Piper’s foray into crime? What might have made the drug world so enticing?

2. In Chapter 2, Piper seeks refuge from the underworld in San Francisco. What support does Piper have that allows her to change the direction of her post collegiate life successfully? How do her circumstances contrast with those of the women she meets in Danbury?

3. Piper is indicted for a crime she committed several years earlier and is sentenced to more than a year in prison. At the time of her incarceration, she is a self-aware woman with a steady job and solid, fulfilling relationships. Once Piper meets other prisoners, she expresses consternation over many of their sentences, which often seem disproportionate to the crimes committed. For example, prisoners receive fifty-four months for Internet fraud and two years for a marijuana charge, but a guard convicted of sexually abusing prisoners receives one month. Women from poor communities often seem to be serving much longer sentences than middle-class prisoners. How do these sentences, including Piper’s, fit in with your idea of prison’s role in society, and the purpose of punishment? What are the biggest crimes in this story, who commits them, and what is their punishment?

4. Many crimes related to the sale of illegal drugs are nonviolent crimes; how do they compare with the sale of legal products that are unhealthy or dangerous, like cigarettes or guns? Nonviolent drug offenses are the reason the majority of the women in the book are in prison; should low-level nonviolent drug offenders be put in prison?

5. Piper’s first taste of prison comes when she surrenders herself to the guards at Danbury. Throughout the memoir, the prisoners endure a number of humiliating tasks at the hands of the guards—arguably, the most vivid being the naked squat/cough ritual after every visitation. Interestingly, though, the incidents that most affect Piper seem to be when one guard refuses to call her by her last name at mail call, sexual harassment from her boss on the electrical job, and a gruff, uncomfortable gynecological exam. Why do you think that is? How do these humiliating encounters shape her view of prison life and of the psychic effects of incarceration on prisoners?

6. The women in the prison have a very definite social system of their own. What purposes do those social systems serve for the prisoners? How do things like food and humor play a role in prisoners’ survival? What special strengths and vulnerabilities do women have when they are in tight-knit single-sex communities such as Danbury? How do you think the needs (emotional and otherwise) of incarcerated men and women differ, and how do their needs differ once they return home?

7. Piper has to learn the ins and outs of prison quickly. Her fellow inmates are nothing if not savvy prisoners. While the coping skills they teach Piper come in very handy behind bars, they don’t translate well into the free world. What kind of education were these women missing in prison? What skills could they have been given that would have helped them establish themselves as productive members of society? How can people convicted of felonies be successfully reintegrated into society?

8. At the end of Chapter 8, Piper discusses the relationship between guards and prisoners. How do you think prison guards can maintain their humanity when the very requirement of their job is to restrict the rights of individuals? Are there any guards or persons of authority in Piper’s story who favorably distinguish themselves by their behavior?

9. Clearly the author’s race, education, and socioeconomic status have an impact on her experience. Should that matter when we consider her story? Do those factors make her story more or less credible? What’s the difference between Danbury FCI, where the author spends most of her time, and the correctional facilities she is transferred to toward the end of the story? Does Piper change in these harsher environments?

10. Should prisons be run by private, for-profit corporations as they are in many states? It is currently legal to make a profit imprisoning the mentally ill, poor, and addicted—but is it ethical?

11. After reading Orange Is the New Black, do you think our prison system is successful? Do you think its dramatic growth over the last thirty years—nearly 400 percent more Americans in prison—is a good thing for the country? Why or why not? What do you think the author is trying to accomplish by telling her story?