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
"Fascinating....The true subject of this unforgettable audiobook is female bonding and the ties that even bars can't unbind." (People)
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).
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.
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.
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.
most interesting was that she retained a sense of humor
I think she left out what would be least interesting to her reader
oh yes, the change in voices was amazing
it did make me laugh, wish my experience was as good
I like postmodernism and parody and poetic language.
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.
"It's been agony, but I couldn't have done it any other way." - Quentin Crisp
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everybody should know that her mother and fiancé are so much nicer and cooler in the book.
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!
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....
Why on earth would you have different names than what were used on the show?
Holes, confusing, just ended. The show is a hit.. This book was not. You had to guess who everyone was, characters were combined. Annoying.
No one, she was good.
Not really. Sorry.
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.
It was long and boring, and we did not finish.. just one day in her book took 3 hours of listening to endless drivel
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.
I can't think of any off the top of my head.
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.
Yes, I listened to it on a road trip going to some fun locations and still regretted when I had to turn it off!
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.
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!
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.
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