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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

4.0 (3489 )
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Story
4.3 (3161 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Tina Ozark, MO, United States 11-13-13
    Tina Ozark, MO, United States 11-13-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    5
    3
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    "The audio was masterfull!"
    What did you love best about Orange is the New Black?

    The audio was great. I really loved the reader


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Left me not wondering about what happens next to the rich girl


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    Her inflections were great and she really made me feel like I was listening to Piper. She was really great.


    If you could give Orange is the New Black a new subtitle, what would it be?

    A rich girl breaks the law


    Any additional comments?

    The whole book was just a long love letter to her boyfriend and family. It is a story about a rich girl who knowingly breaks the law and then used her pen to write about not only her love for her fiance but a litany of complaints about the judicial system. Her complaints fell on these deaf ears because she is a felon. A felon who chose to perform her crime(s). There was really nothing interesting that happened to her, while she only told us of all the good she did for others in prison. She was an angel in jail. Just so long as she can keep ON telling her boyfriend what an angel she was in prison - she has a reason to write this pretty boring book. I made it all the way through though. #phew

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 11-04-13
    Dan 11-04-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not comparable to Netflix show"
    Would you recommend Orange Is the New Black to your friends? Why or why not?

    If you are listening to it because you like the Netflix show than you might be somewhat bored. They obviously hyped up almost every story line in the Netflix show so the book is very mundane by comparison. It is well written and somewhat interesting but it got somewhat repetitive after a while.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    The reading performance is very good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara A. Drescher 11-03-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well-written, but lacking in real insight"
    Would you try another book from Piper Kerman and/or Cassandra Campbell?

    Not likely from Piper Kerman, but yes to Cassandra Campbell.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Piper Kerman again?

    If she wrote some fiction, I might be interested, but I have no interest in a memoir by her.


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

    It's tough to choose. Campbell did some great voices. I guess Pop was the best.


    Do you think Orange Is the New Black needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Its story has a beginning, middle, and end. The characters are not very well fleshed-out, so nobody would be interested in what happened to them afterward. There's just nothing to follow up on.


    Any additional comments?

    First, let me say that fans of the Netflix series will be disappointed if they expect the story to be anything at all like the show. This is a memoir, not dramatic fiction. Many of the characters bear a passing resemblance to people described in the book and there are a few details which transferred nicely (e.g., the pudding from Desert Storm), but the story of Piper Chapman barely resembles Piper Kerman's.

    I was disappointed in the book for two reasons. First, I had hoped that Kerman would tell the other women's stories. She doesn't. In most cases, we don't even know why they are incarcerated and aren't given enough information about appearance to visualize them. She talks about these women as if they were close friends, but there isn't enough detail for readers to get to know these people or to care about them.

    Second, which is probably tied to the first point, the book is rather self-indulgent, without revealing much about Kerman that makes us care about her. She has nothing but praise for the people she likes and loves, which is unrealistic and makes those people seem flat. She says that takes responsibility for what she did, but complains so much about mandatory minimum sentences that it almost negates the remorse. I will give her this: at one point late in the book she does talk about seeing the effects of drugs on the live's of so many others (fellow inmates) and appears to be sincere in her regret.

    Kerman's complaints of prison life are sometimes offensive in the sense that she seems to expect prison to be more like a vacation. Although I understand that reform should be an objective and I was appalled to read about how little the system did to prepare these women for release, there are many complaints about daily life which come off as whiny and seemingly ignore the fact that prison is not supposed to be pleasant.

    All of that said, it's a fairly short read with a few interesting insights if you can get through all of the less-than-believable, "Oh, everyone was so great" stuff without vomiting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doc Boynton Beach, FL, United States 10-27-13
    Doc Boynton Beach, FL, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing peek into the penal system"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it was fascinating. I can see why they turned it into a television series.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Knowing it was based on a true story.


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

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica oceanside, CA, United States 10-22-13
    Erica oceanside, CA, United States 10-22-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great Narrator! Interesting insight"
    What made the experience of listening to Orange Is the New Black the most enjoyable?

    the narrator and her flawless depiction of all the accents.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    pop, the russian mob wife in charge of the kitchen. she's runs the place in so many ways and makes her time worth something of value to her. she's strong and has authority in a place where that doesnt exist for the women.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    amazing. i have had to stop listening to good books because of the narrator. but she delivered it perfectly.


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

    yes and no. it wasnt a gripping story, or nearly as interesting as the show, no cliff hangers. But a well documented book depicting life as it is. Although its hard to keep all the characters straight


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori bedford, MA, United States 10-14-13
    Lori bedford, MA, United States 10-14-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    7
    6
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    0
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    "Orange is never the new black"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Solid book. A little long and drawn out. At times I even thought I was reading the same page over again. like deja vu. Perhaps prision is like that. I thought it was a good read. An interesting story. Seemed honest. Should have been condensed


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting is hearing about women's expreience in jail. The groups and cliques. Like high school, only more Oz.
    The ingenious nature of the women cooking and contraband items.


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

    No. too drawn out.


    Any additional comments?

    It's an interesting book with an interesting perspective, but too drawn out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet&Greg Huntington Beach, CA, United States 10-13-13
    Janet&Greg Huntington Beach, CA, United States 10-13-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    24
    24
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    1
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    "Okay story"
    What did you like best about Orange Is the New Black? What did you like least?

    I liked the person.


    Would you recommend Orange Is the New Black to your friends? Why or why not?

    Sure, it was enjoyable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Her exit from the prison when she ran to her fiance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Possibly. It's on TV but I haven't watched it.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this book after watching the author on Katie Courac show.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Laurin FAYETTEVILLE, AR, United States 10-13-13
    R. Laurin FAYETTEVILLE, AR, United States 10-13-13 Member Since 2011

    Nancy L Hall Mom, Educator, attorney.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great addition to the Netflix series"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Orange Is the New Black to be better than the print version?

    YES!! The voices done by narrator were excellent, believable, and entertaining.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Orange Is the New Black?

    The greeting card that was to my strong black man.


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

    No, but I am going to look for books just to listen to her again. MARVELOUS!


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

    That watching a series before listening to the book is not always a bad thing.


    Any additional comments?

    I watched with near addiction every episode of OITNB on Netflix. I was transfixed and just loved it. Then I saw the book. I worried about listening to the book after having watched the show, but my worries were unfounded. The book is marvelous. From the story, I could glean the bits of different people who were in the series and it almost gave each a face as I listened. The narrator could not have done better- she used different voices that made the story seamless. I could not recommend a book more highly!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MarMor Flint, MI 10-11-13
    MarMor Flint, MI 10-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    70
    3
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    "Not so compellling"
    What did you like best about Orange Is the New Black? What did you like least?

    The story of a woman in prison was interesting, but not as compelling and scintillating as the TV show. I wanted to hear the end of the book, but didn't find that I was charged up by the story.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    The narrator made the story more interesting, capturing the voices of the inmates well.


    Could you see Orange Is the New Black being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    The TV show is supposedly very "colorful." I can see where there would be back and side stories to engage the viewer, but they weren't present in the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beckie Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 10-11-13
    Beckie Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 10-11-13 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "What a great book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I was hooked from the beginning. I could hardly wait to begin again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Piper of course


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

    No


    If you could give Orange Is the New Black a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Oh my I don't know


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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