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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 (2840 )
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4.3 (2582 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carl arlington, tx, United States 03-14-14
    Carl arlington, tx, United States 03-14-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "What happens when a WASP goes to prison"
    What disappointed you about Orange is the New Black?

    While there are mentions of punishments and happens, the author never actually tells any alarming stories. Some of the characters she starts to develop, but never really are fully developed. Some of the narrative makes me so tired of the authors whining I want to slap her. Her biggest worry about being in federal prison is how to get people on her visit list.


    If you’ve listened to books by Piper Kerman before, how does this one compare?

    N/A


    What character would you cut from Orange is the New Black?

    The existing characters need more development and she mentions friends (almost as an acknowledgement), but their relation to the story (other than a visit) is not relevant.


    Any additional comments?

    The only redeeming value of this book is to highlight why nonviolent offenders should not be sent to prison and the illogical rationale for sending some of these individuals to prison. Unfortunately, this book is too full of statistics that are pulled to support the story line. You would think that would be good, but the reason is so clearly to fill in the story that it takes away from the narrative. Awful.

    She did some stupid stuff, she should not have gone to prison. But her real crime is writing this horrible book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 03-05-14
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 03-05-14

    romans55

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    "Prison is boring....."
    Any additional comments?

    I almost stopped in the middle of this but decided to press on to the end. Bottom line: All American girl mingles with the common folk in a women's prison. Sorry to say I found this quite dull...as most of prison life probably is and passing the time can be less than interesting. I also did not like her political leanings about the prison system, but she is entitled to her opinion. It just made a book I didn't like even less attractive. I can't believe this is such a big deal. I am not sure what people are laughing at because I saw little humor in the book. Perhaps those who have binge-watched the series might find the book more humorous. I now have no interest in the series.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Manitowoc, WI, United States 09-12-13
    Mary Manitowoc, WI, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    "not interesting!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    She spent a few months in prison, made friends and had a basically uneventful experience.


    What could Piper Kerman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    She would of had to put some fiction in it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    it didn't


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Richmond, TX, United States 09-09-13
    Susan Richmond, TX, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2011

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Prison isn't so bad"

    This was a pretty good story, but I think I expected more darkness and being frightened. Actually, I wasn't frightened for Piper and I think she met some nice people. Funny being in prison, she actually met friends for life. They cooked, they had parties, they cried and laughed. This makes prison seem friendly.
    One part of this story that angered me about this story is she committed a crime that was minor in the world of crime. Ten years later she accepted a plea bargain to avoid a long prison term. That is one of the problems of our court system; the prosecutors are determined to convict people and would do anything including threats of 20 years for trial or 18 months for a plea.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mediamaverick Seattle, WA 08-08-13
    Mediamaverick Seattle, WA 08-08-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Loved the book and performance"
    Would you listen to Orange Is the New Black again? Why?

    Prompted to listen after watching series on Netflix. Needless to say they bear only slight resemblance to one another but both excellent. What I took away most from this memoir was the humanity of those incarcerated and the utter failure that is the U.S. prison system.

    Well worth listening to. Campbell's narration adds another layer of nuance and empathy as the prisoners' stories unfold. Overall a moving and thought-provoking experience.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marion Euless, TX, United States 08-04-13
    marion Euless, TX, United States 08-04-13 Member Since 2010

    raen5171

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    "Hmmmm"
    What did you like best about Orange Is the New Black? What did you like least?

    The story is very interesting, the background of how she ended up in prison. I felt that where there should have been more story it just stopped and started something else, some what disjointed


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

    Probably


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

    Yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Saline, MI, United States 07-27-13
    Sheila Saline, MI, United States 07-27-13 Member Since 2005
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    "A worthwhile autobio, don't expect the TV series."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Orange Is the New Black to be better than the print version?

    I don't have an opinion on this. I have not read the print version.


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

    When the fellow inmate was talking to Piper about God and how that made her think differently about herself and why she was in prison.


    What does Cassandra Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She did really well with the accents and intonations. Probably the only authentic Boston accent ever recorded in an audiobook. It was a very challenging book for accents (Russian, Hispanic, Black etc.)


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

    The process of her trial! It was ten years from the time she was involved in the criminal activity and when she finally went to prison. It was also interesting how the inmates did not talk to each other about why they were in prison with each other.


    Any additional comments?

    I watched a couple of episodes of the Netflix show and saw the book. This is completely different from the show, but in a good way. The author is articulate, insightful and compassionate. She has an amazing circle of friends, family members and of course, Larry. She comes to terms with how her involvement in the criminal group was not a victimless crime, even though she was not directly involved in the drug transactions. The show makes it seem like rich white girl gets sent to prison with a bunch of tough, abrasive non-rich, mostly non-white inmates, but the story in the book is not about that; it is more inward looking and compassionate. It is the story one would want to tell about one's self and one's loved ones, well written and detailed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prisca Ekkens Emeryville, CA 09-01-13
    Prisca Ekkens Emeryville, CA 09-01-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow! An Unexpected Eye-Opener"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I watched the television series by the same name which lead me to the book. I couldn't believe it was based on a true story! Piper's story on its own is very intriguing. Reading her book also give insight to how the war on drugs and for-profit prisons have created casualties of drug addicts and the poor. Eventually, most of 2.5 million inmates in US prisons will be released after serving their time. Branded for life and some of their fundamental rights as US citizens revoked, they'll return to a world where the punishment continues with slim to no chance of gaining a foothold in normal society. As a country, I think we can do better when it comes to justice for all.


    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pauline englewood, CO, United States 05-21-14
    Pauline englewood, CO, United States 05-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Boring"
    What would have made Orange is the New Black better?

    I had higher expectations of a funny and racy story (based on the TV show) and I thought that the book would have more stories beyond what they would show on TV but man was this book boring. Nothing really stood out and the story was lacking.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Piper Kerman again?

    Probably not.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The reader was clear and didn't really smack their lips when they talked like other readers. Too bad the story was boring.


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

    lack of fulfillment. fell like I wasted a few hours on this.


    Any additional comments?

    Like I said, it you love the cheeky and crude laughs from the TV show, don't read the book. Keep watching the show because it is more entertaining. If you want to know the real story, then read the book. I personally just did not like it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Denver, CO, United States 08-07-13
    Thomas Denver, CO, United States 08-07-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Not bullshit..."
    What made the experience of listening to Orange Is the New Black the most enjoyable?

    The story seems not to be embellished. Seems like the real deal. It does pay off at the end when more details of the co conspirators are given. It is true that the book needs an afterward to explain what happened to Piper and the other inmates.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    The reading was top notch. It was read with feeling, variation in voices and accents as well.


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

    The books does a great job telling you about the daily routine and politics of living in a women's minimum security prison. The author said that prior to surrendering for prison she read all the books about prison life - but these were books by male ex cons. This book is important as a female perspective for a female institution.


    Any additional comments?

    Piper should join the Navy and then write a book about that. There seem to be a lot of similarities between minimum security prison and being in the navy, ie lots of chicken shit rules. Makes for great bonding and misadventure.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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