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Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison | [Piper Kerman]

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's 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 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 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 women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.
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Publisher's Summary

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 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 women 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, where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated. 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, Orange is the New Black 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.

©2010 Piper Kerman (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Fascinating....The true subject of this unforgettable audiobook is female bonding and the ties that even bars can't unbind." (People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4741 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Julia Kane 10-14-14
    Julia Kane 10-14-14 Member Since 2014

    British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Must Read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I certainly would recommend this to a friend. Totally absorbing story about a well educated woman whose 'adventure' in her 20s came back to haunt her. However she survived and I have a feeling that she became stronger, more focused and far more appreciative of all that she has been given in life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The picture imagery was so real that I could smell the prison food and almost taste the grittiness of the Cremora whipped by hand into the Prison Cheese Cake


    Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?

    Piper had to be my favorite character as she evolved throughout each chapter. I think that she was a little weak at the start but her life experiences by her mid 30s had made her a well rounded person. I would love to meet her and see how she evolves over the next 40 years.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    I learned a lot about the prison system and it has made me want to learn more. The thought of losing control of my life is horrendous and I cannot imagine how Piper must have felt on that last day of her incarceration not knowing whether or not she was going to be discharged. Also with so many people unemployed in the USA why do female prisoners have to be supervised by male guards?


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have not seen the TV show. I decided to purchase it on impulse. I will definitely be reading this again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise Steckler 10-13-14 Member Since 2013
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    9
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    "Not that exciting."
    What did you like best about Orange is the New Black? What did you like least?

    I loved the narrater. It started out good then it was just okay. Thank God for the other lady prisoners or I would have stopped reading it.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not sure


    Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    What else would you have wanted to know about Piper Kerman’s life?

    Not sure


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelfish IL, United States 09-22-14
    Shelfish IL, United States 09-22-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Engaging and Eye Opening"
    Any additional comments?

    This was my first peek into the life lead by people in prison. The story was wonderfully told and very easy to listen to. It's impossible to put down, compelling and eye opening. It really opened my eyes about acceptance and compassion towards others. The author's main character, Piper, never judges or makes excuses. It really made me take a good look at myself. The author did a remarkable job of putting me in that prison with those women. It is a book I will never forget.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet United States 09-06-14
    Janet United States 09-06-14 Member Since 2015
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    "orange reading a bust"
    What would have made Orange is the New Black better?

    It was long and boring, and we did not finish.. just one day in her book took 3 hours of listening to endless drivel


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 09-06-14
    Amazon Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 09-06-14 Member Since 2015

    monnie1976

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    "Entertaining, thought provoking prison story."
    What did you love best about Orange is the New Black?

    The story was very entertaining and shows why the "fish out of water" scenario is always entertaining. I really enjoyed hearing about how she adjusted, made friends and found herself in prison and also how she tried to highlight the issues with the criminal justice system.


    What other book might you compare Orange is the New Black to and why?

    I can't think of any off the top of my head.


    Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I thought she gave a fantastic performance and never once did her reading take me out of the moment. She had to do a variety of accents, characters and ethnicities and I thought she did a good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I listened to it on a road trip going to some fun locations and still regretted when I had to turn it off!


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely not for everyone, I found this story to be entertaining and true to the viewpoint of the person telling it. Some have criticized the fact she wasn't always culturally competent but if that's who she is, its really no big surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie holladay, Utah 09-04-14
    Angie holladay, Utah 09-04-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an eBay seller who listens to approx. a book a day while taking & editing photos of my items. I love a good suspenseful mystery!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reaffirmed My Frustrations With Prison System!"

    First off political beliefs aside this book is boring! Nothing really happens in this story. I am not one for 'drama' and this book has a lot of drama and little else. That said what really got to me was the fact that this girl obviously didn't think she belonged in prison even though she clearly broke the law! Period. My thoughts on the prison system have always been that it's not harsh enough! I think prisoners are catered to and most 'want' to return when they're released because it's more comfortable than the real world! To be quite honest I'm tired of my hard earned money going to the 'comfort' of prisoners and this book just reaffirmed my feelings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dea Win 09-01-14
    Dea Win 09-01-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating Story so Much BETTER THAN THE SHOW!"
    What did you love best about Orange is the New Black?

    I tried to watch "Orange is the New Black" and could not get into it. I could not relate to the character or the cast of misfits. The book brought the character to life and brought about real issues in the penal system. I think I will try to tune in to the show now.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 08-31-14
    George 08-31-14
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    "Revelation"

    I liked this book and listened to it almost straight through. Couldn't resist the parallel between Piper Kerman in this book and Cheryl Strayed (Wild) as both overcame adversity and told the story about it...then profited from a book. The story appealed to me because she admitted her guilt and recovered from it--with the help of the other inmates at Danbury. Now, where is that TV show?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Taylor Rockville, MD United States 07-26-14
    Jane Taylor Rockville, MD United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2014

    jesuva

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    "Interesting story"

    it was an interesting look into a year in women's prison, and full of thoughtful observations and female bonding. That said, I can't say that I found the narrator/author to be a very likeable person by the end. True that she did her crimes as a very young person, and justice was not swift in her case. She admitted responsibility and had some sort of epiphany about the cost of drug trafficking on society but seemed to miss the point of incarceration. If people like her (educated, affluent, creative, driven) don't find it important to respect the laws of the society that has afforded them so much privilege, how else can the rest of society stay safe from them? Incarceration is primarily to punish the offender for putting the rest of us at risk from Nigerian drug lords and organized crime and God knows what else, and to limit the amount of damage that she and her friends in prison can do to us and our kids in the future. Rehabilitation is a useful goal, but not the point, ultimately.

    I am glad she grew up and found success, but personally disturbed by the sense of superiority and wounded pride that infuses this narrative. That said, my daughter met her at a Smith alumnus event and found her charming, so who can say?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caty 07-25-14
    Caty 07-25-14 Member Since 2015

    Profoundly grateful for Audible books on my commutes and for my workouts!

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    "Less Exciting, but More Insightful than the Show"

    I bought this book because I love the television show. I stored up a credit and was excited to use it on this book. Although the lesbian drama is pretty much non-existent (something surprising given the nature of the Netflix original), this book did not disappoint.

    Instead of a constant barrage of drama, Piper uses her time in prison to reflect on important lessons. She writes about the lessons she's learned about responsibility and maturity while doing her time. She writes about the shortcomings of a prison system that is cold, harsh, and uninterested in rehabilitation. She is open and honest in an account of how she was responsible (however indirectly) for the suffering of others, such as her fellow inmates.

    In short, if you are looking for a fantasy novel packed with lesbian drama and people getting beat with "Slocks", this is not the book for you. If you are interested in the life of a woman who gets something real out of her time in prison, then I strongly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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