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Orange Is the New Black

My Year in A Woman's Prison

Kerman, Piper

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Orange Is the New Black
Random House, Inc.

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

Baker & Taylor
Follows the author's incarceration for drug trafficking, during which she gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and met a varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.

& Taylor

Traces the author's 15-month incarceration at an infamous women's correctional facility for drug trafficking, an imprisonment during which she gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and met a varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.

Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385523387
Branch Call Number: B Kerman K
Characteristics: 298 p. ; 25 cm.


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Harlem Heights Reading Circle will be discussing this title

Monday, September 25, 2013

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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.

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 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

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 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 02, 2014
  • smurfette2528 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I decided to read this prior to watching the show and am so glad I did. I found it very interesting and easy to read. While the book was a bit choppy at times, the stories were interesting and I would definitely recommend it as a quick, interesting read. The author does a great job describing the characters and bringing them to life in my imagination. I'm looking forward to watching the show!

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.

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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."


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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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