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.”—

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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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

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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


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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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Kerman, Piper
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