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Orange is the New Black Audiobook

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

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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 (6422 )
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  •  
    Pamela M. Southern California 11-07-14
    Pamela M. Southern California 11-07-14 Member Since 2012

    A book can get you out of your house, your town, even out of the country. I'm an avid reader believing reviews help find the good ones.

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    "Disappointing!"

    This is the story of a thirty year old woman who is serving fifteen months in prison for a decade old crime transporting drug money for a friend. She transported the money one time but because of US mandated laws on drug trafficking she had to serve the time.

    This story was way to nice to be a prison story. If I am reading a prison story it needs shanks, fights and drama. This was like summer camp with a lot of heavy rules or like living in a college dorm with less freedom. There was no drama whatsoever! I was very disappointed!

    I wasn't aware this was a TV series until after I finished this book. I selected this book due to all the positive reviews from previous readers. After reading it I cannot get over why there are so many positive reviews. I am thinking maybe the TV series influenced some of them. I'm sure the screenwriters probably did a lot for this story for the series to have such high ratings, to bad they weren't around for the writing of the book.

    P.s... I write reviews to help others find good books. Why waste your time and money on bad books? If my reviews help you please click the "helpful" button, sometimes I think I am wasting my time and efforts with this. Thank you!

    2 of 4 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!

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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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark S. Tuell 08-31-14 Member Since 2016
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    "I'm Too Good For Prison"
    Would you try another book from Piper Kerman and/or Cassandra Campbell?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Piper Kerman again?

    No


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    OK


    Was Orange is the New Black worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    An inside look at how a little rich girl can ruin people’s lives and still think it's a terrible thing to happen to HER. I mean REALLY? She's going to rant and rave about the government, the court system, the prison system and how unfair they treated her after TRAFFICKING DRUGS? Whine, make excuses, whine some more and make yourself the hero while you’re doing it. I felt like I was reading a Sixth Grade'r English assignment on narcissism

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TM 08-08-14
    TM 08-08-14

    TJM

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    "Enjoyable - Different from the Show"
    Any additional comments?

    First off, the book is quite a bit different from the Netflix show. It is much less sexual and less comedic (although there are funny bits).

    It was well written and engaging and it was a worthwhile inside look at life in a Federal women's prison.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 06-25-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 06-25-14 Member Since 2008

    Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.

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    "Like a year-long slumber party!"

    I have mixed feelings about the author, but the book held my interest all the way through and the narration was very well done. Thus, I gave it 4 stars over all.

    Lucky for me, I have not yet watched the Netflix TV show by the same name, so I have nothing with which to compare this audiobook or to disappoint me. Besides, TV and movies often "enhance" a book's content to such an extent that it is difficult to compare them in the best of circumstances.

    Some of the things that bothered me are the following. Piper always came across as the spoiled, advantaged, pretty girl. She began whining about the prison conditions from day one, when she missed her fiance and her friends unbearably. For cripes sake, she wasn't even there for 24 hours! And after all, her crimes were only committed to satisfy a need for cheap thrills. Incongruent with her frequent indignance about the unfair treatment and unpleasant conditions in prison were the descriptions of all the fun she had--making cheesecake, having pedis, visiting the lake, making new friends. Even more puzzling was her constant need to pat herself on the back--for making so many friends, having so many visitors, being so well-loved by just about everyone.

    On the other hand, I really did enjoy Piper's story. I was surprised and happy to learn that there was so little violence in a women's prison--is her experience really typical? And it was interesting to get an inside picture of the often mundane day-to-day existence of prison life. I just wish she had added a small bit about life after prison and some follow-ups on her prison girlfriends. Puzzling how the book ended so abruptly. It felt a bit incomplete.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Me & My Girls 06-12-14 Member Since 2016

    Thanks and respect to the women that served and paid a high price. You are still gorgeous Shi; your scars make you even more beautiful.

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    "A Social Commentary"

    In these days of 'for profit' prisons; in an America that incarcerates a higher percentage of it's citizens than any country in the world. This story is illustrative of the huge waste in resources, and potential that a lock 'em up attitude produces.
    Though the author was a productive citizen with only a tangential role in a drug transaction that was ten years in the past, the "war on drugs" knows no mercy and Piper is sentenced to fifteen months in a women's prison. Once inside the true measure of the waste of human energy and talent that filling cells entails is shown. This isn't the nightmare scenarios of rape and torment depicted in class B movies but it is prison. The guards can be petty, the cliques are make it an adult middle school at times and the isolation from their life and loved ones is difficult.
    The author makes the best of her time; catching up on her reading, getting into the best shape of her life, and learning to do electrical work. She adjusts, makes friends and tries to have more in her life than counting down the days while avoiding deeper connections. Though she has a bisexual past and it was a relationship with the wrong woman that led her to commit the crime that put her in prison she maintains her commitment to her fiance. She remains silent about her sapphic past and doesn't succumb to the "gay for the stay" ethos that is prevalent among many of the other inmates.
    Quite a few of the other reviewers seemed to be upset at the abrupt ending of the book and the lack of closure concerning her relationships with the women she met inside. I didn't find this at all disconcerting; after all this disconcerting considering that the subtitle of the book was 'My Year Inside A women's Prison. Plus given Piper's background and current situation I doubt there will be much, if any contact between her and the people she knew on the inside; what she shared with the women she met inside was more of a situational closeness than enduring friendship.
    I found it an interesting glimpse into a world that is often dramatized or sensationalized. As in many things the reality is both better and worse than is depicted in creative media. The narrator Cassandra Campbell does an excellent job with the material of Kerman's life.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Lilburn, GA, United States 06-02-14
    Jennifer Lilburn, GA, United States 06-02-14 Member Since 2009

    TzuMom in ATL

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    "Kind of dry, really"

    I have to say I was disappointed with this book. I watched the NetFlix TV series first season and am, admittedly, on the edge of my seat for the second season to start this coming Friday, but this is one of the very few books I have to say I enjoyed the big screen version much better! The story is really quite dry, and really quite mild, considering it's a prison story. I have known people in prison. Granted, the people I have known weren't at Danbury minimum security, so I realize that the violent stories I've heard couldn't compare. But this book practically makes the whole thing out to be like an extended summer camp! (Spoiler alert) When she's transferred briefly to another prison, then it starts to feel a little more realistic, but still much milder than what I expected. When the show says it's "based" on this book, they aren't kidding! It's VERY *loosely* "based" on this book. I often found myself wondering as I was listening how anyone even thought to themselves, "Gee, I bet this would make a great television show!" and then took the time to seek out the proper people to bring that to fruition. I'm glad they did... Because I will continue to watch the show! :) Long story short, if you have seen the show, stick with the show. If you haven't, by all means, check it out! But I would leave the book behind.

    2 of 3 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 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod Morgan 07-25-13
    Rod Morgan 07-25-13 Member Since 2010

    Unclejack

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    "Not bad, but the TV show is better"
    Any additional comments?

    Remember that a terrific movie (and a legendary TV show) emerged from a mediocre series of comic novels about doctors in Korea, and accept the fact that Piper Kerman is not as good a writer as the folks who turned her story into a dazzling Netflix series. With that point in mind, you may enjoy hearing a very different set of stories in this autobiographical text.

    Ms. Kerman doesn't have strong narrative skill and evidently got little editing. As a result, stories are sprinkled around with little continuity or development, and characters jump up and down in a fairly random order. One example is the way the incarceration of Martha Stewart is handled - it is foreshadowed and anticipated, only to fall flat when the TV homemaker manages to be assigned a "nicer" place to stay.

    Cassandra Campbell tries to keep the players straight with a few accents, but they are not specific enough and become as much an intrusion as a help; her long stretches in a normal voice are easier to take.

    The best story is not here or on TV - Ms. Kerman now works in public relations on prison reform issues; a true tale of prison rehabilitation.

    And if you do like the book - wait 'til you see the series!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 06-05-14
    Tim United States 06-05-14 Member Since 2011

    I read nothing that is popular.

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    "Women's Retreat"

    Piper Kerman's experience of being in prison in "Orange is the New Black" is like going to a women's retreat. Instead of being scare straight, her interpretation of being in prison is so delightful, where I would like to go. Movie nights, cheese cakes, mani pedi, yoga? Where do I sign up? Let's not forget that everyone is your friend and you can eat as much as you want on your birthday.

    I'm being sarcastic, but if you want to scare your rebel teenager on what it's like being lock up, make them watch "Lockup" on MSNBC. Don't give them this book. They would want to go to prison to have a makeover and have a good time. Not really sure if the author really got locked up because she makes jail to be a field of flowers. Why would anyone want to leave?

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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