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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 (3668 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard C. Sears New York City 09-28-14
    Richard C. Sears New York City 09-28-14 Member Since 2014
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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!

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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 2014

    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
  •  
    Michel 09-06-14
    Michel 09-06-14
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    "Love the HBO show; loved this as much"

    I looked forward to my commute to and from work every day until I finished the book. It was not as tense as the HBO show but every part was, to me, interesting and at times, shocking. Piper is such a lovely woman who grew as a human being while in prison and her account of her 15 months in prison is respectful of a range of people with whom I had little previous knowledge. The reader captured the various accents of the women with respect and accuracy. Having watched every episode of the show, it would have been disconcerting if the voices of the women differed too greatly from those of the cast, and they did not. As I went along, I actually felt like I was listening to Piper tell her own story. Having heard her tell parts of it on the Moth podcast, this aspect of the reading, too, captured her well. If you feel you already know Piper's story having watched the HBO show, I'd suggest giving this a try anyway. There is overlap in characters and situations, but the book is certainly a more in-depth depiction of the realities of our prison system and of Piper's experiences. Excellent book on tape.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet United States 09-06-14
    Janet United States 09-06-14 Member Since 2014
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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 2012

    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
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