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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

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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
  •  
    Just Me South Central Iowa 10-05-14
    Just Me South Central Iowa 10-05-14 Member Since 2013

    Jeannie

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    2
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    "Really enjoyed listening to this book."
    What did you love best about Orange is the New Black?

    Good entertainment. Made me want to drive so I could listen to my book!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Piper


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this book. Now I want to watch the t.v. show.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 United States 10-05-14
    Parola138 United States 10-05-14 Member Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Only read this if you're into chick lit"

    I know nothing about the TV show, but this was on sale and I thought I'd give it an open-minded try. Within the first half hour, I could tell this was chick lit through and through by the tone and content of it. A bored chick with nothing else going on in her life, so she starts hustling drug money internationally. I endured for 4 chapters, then deleted it. I think a female audience might be able to suspend disbelief and handle the tone of the book better, but I wouldn't recommend it to men to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard C. Sears New York City 09-28-14
    Richard C. Sears New York City 09-28-14 Member Since 2008
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    "An extraordinary journey and memoir."
    Where does Orange is the New Black rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a marvelous memoir. You can't compare it to all the wonderful biographies and histories to be found at Audible. That would be apples and oranges (heh).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The author. Her personal growth in prison is a wondrous thing, and her ability to relate to the other prisoners and report what happened there was uncanny.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    I felt I was listening to Piper Kerman herself, plus she did the other voices so well, whether Southern or inner city black, or various latina voices, or best of all, her Russian accent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Read the book. There is a film (a TV series) of the book, but they're totally different. The book makes you think. The TV show entertains you.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 09-17-14
    Barbara 09-17-14
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    4
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    "I was surprised at this book"
    Where does Orange is the New Black rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    #1


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

    most interesting was that she retained a sense of humor
    I think she left out what would be least interesting to her reader


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    oh yes, the change in voices was amazing


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    it did make me laugh, wish my experience was as good


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pomogirl Salt Lake City, UT 09-17-14
    pomogirl Salt Lake City, UT 09-17-14 Member Since 2012

    I like postmodernism and parody and poetic language.

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    "Good, and different from the Netflix show"

    Even though the writing is simply rendered, I really couldn't wait to keep listening to this, and so made up reasons to go places in my car for a month. Piper's vignettes about her year+ in federal prison, and the connections she made with so many different kinds of women, is a book that focuses on the women who help each other rather than hate each other, and so my students would call it "uplifting." The craziness of our prison system, of our need to punish rather than to rehabilitate people who might actually want to find a way forward, is one important theme in this book, but the micro stories about each inmate are more compelling than Piper's philosophizing. One of the previous reviewers said the book was like the Netflix show, but that is not the case. The book doesn't have the larger, and more dramatic narrative arcs and sustained dramas we see in the show. Enemies on the show are more often than not women Piper ends up needing and respecting in the book which is refreshing if not dramatic. The narrator of this book is exceptional with her ability to play the cowering Piper and the assertive and wise Russian cook along with everyone else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard B. Chicago 09-16-14
    Richard B. Chicago 09-16-14 Member Since 2014

    "It's been agony, but I couldn't have done it any other way." - Quentin Crisp

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definitely More Believable Than the Series!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would have liked to see more analysis and a deeper consideration of the lives of the other prisoners as well as her own role in jail.


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

    I thought it was fascinating to compare this version of her story to the highly fictionalized tv series. It was surprising sometimes which pieces were true and which weren't.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It was quite an engaging listen, but I'm not sure I had a favorite part. Maybe the way she handles her abusive supervisor in the electrical shop.


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

    I'd actually love to see an alternate version of this show. I mean, I'm hooked on the Showtime show, but I'd like to see a version that was less sexy and a bit more realistic.


    Any additional comments?

    Everybody should know that her mother and fiancé are so much nicer and cooler in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 09-09-14
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 09-09-14 Member Since 2012

    Nurse, mom, loved to read....but now I love to listen. When I retire I hope to hear waves crashing in 1 ear and audible in the other!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Occasional humor o/w kind of dull...."

    I got this on sale so I am ok but not worth a credit. It makes Federal Prison look tolerable. There were some funny moments but that's about it. I loved the narrator. I have not watched the tv show but I bet it is much better. It's just Piper's story....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Poconos, PA 09-08-14
    Robin Poconos, PA 09-08-14 Member Since 2012

    Robin

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    "REALLY DISAPPOINTING"
    What disappointed you about Orange is the New Black?

    Why on earth would you have different names than what were used on the show?


    What was most disappointing about Piper Kerman’s story?

    Holes, confusing, just ended. The show is a hit.. This book was not. You had to guess who everyone was, characters were combined. Annoying.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Cassandra Campbell?

    No one, she was good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not really. Sorry.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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