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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison [Paperback]

Piper Kerman
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 8 2011
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen 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 people 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. 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, Kerman’s story 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.
 
Praise for Orange Is the New Black
 
“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”People (four stars)
 
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”USA Today
 
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison + The Rosie Project + The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared
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Product Description

Review

“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”People (four stars)
 
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”USA Today
 
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com

About the Author

Piper Kerman is vice president of a Washington, D.C.–based communications firm that works with foundations and nonprofits. A graduate of Smith College, she lives in Brooklyn.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Piper's account of her year spent in prison was thought provoking and peaked my interest in following up with learning more about the incarceration system in the US. Although a memoir, the book's focus is actually more on the absurd and tragic consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing and the complete disregard for human life created by the prison complex, rather than one person's story.

Her experience focuses on a minimum security prison, where it appears that incarceration is largely useless, punitive and creates complex social challenges, as there is no consideration to rehabilitation and support. The criticism of the book I have read largely revolve around her being a privileged person - white, middle class, educated etc. - that is what it is. She repeatedly addresses her privilege in the book, recognizing in situation after situation her privilege and what that affords her (i.e. excellent representation in court, a job after release etc.).

Ultimately, the book is one that asks the question - what is the purpose of incarceration (in non-violent, lesser charges cases)? How is the system that we have created humane and what are the consequences not only for those imprisoned, but their families, communities and society as a whole?

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real-life look inside a women's prison Oct. 10 2013
By JMar88
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating account of real events in a women's prison. It is well-written and was hard to put down. The various personalites are vividly described! I loved it, and some family members who have Netflix are loving the series, too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book! Oct. 2 2013
By Maggie
Format:Paperback
I LOVED this book! Because it is a true story, I couldn't stop reading it. Well written, easy read and some pretty hilarious bits too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Fellowship of the Cage Aug. 11 2014
By Sherry
Verified Purchase
I'll admit: I only started to read this book because I watched the Netflix series and was too impatient to wait for the next season to come out; I needed to know how it ended. What I got was unexpected. The memoir is a lot more touching and human than the show, which I now know barely resembles the truth. Conned I was. The intimacy and vulnerability in the book is anything but sexual, and I, for one, was more satisfied.

I will still watch the next season of oitnb when it comes out as it is entertaining. That said, I am saddened that Netflix missed the opportunity to tell a real story, one that could have challenged stereotypes, inspired inquiry, and called for meaning.
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By Jay
Format:Paperback
I found myself angry when writing this. Angry because of the lack of depth or plot, or areas of interest in the story depicted.
Rich woman gets in trouble, and goes to jail. Everything is realllly tough, because the salad bar has vegetables she doesn't like. She makes friends with everyone. Her fiancée is a doll and visits.

There just wasn't any substance. Yes, the sisterhood that develops in prison is something to be applauded *eye roll*, but the way that story is told is so bland, and emotionless.

The show is nothing like the book. The show is interesting. The show has characters you remember a minute later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-read version of the book May 10 2014
By Bren9898 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book and love books-on-tape so I bought this audio CD. The narration is great, although it takes many hours (11+) to get through the story. I listen to it in bed at nighttime and on lazy weekend mornings. I haven't seen the Netflix program so, if you have, I don't know if you'll like this book version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy amazing Feb. 5 2014
By Reanne
Verified Purchase
So realistic and straightforward. I could feel all her emotions and kept wondering what would happen next. This is a book for all women; it teaches about strength, accountability and digging deep within yourself.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay... May 16 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is not my kind of book but my book club chose it so I decided to give it a try. A few chapters in I was tempted to stop reading - I didn't like the author and wasn't particularly empathetic to her ending up in prison. Nonetheless, I'm glad I persevered until the end. While I didn't love it, I did get more into the story as it developed. I found the descriptions of the other prisoners and their interactions interesting and it did give me some idea of life behind bars in a minimum security prison. The author's experience is not typical of the women in prison - she had lots of support from the 'outside' as well as a job waiting for her. It's a somewhat entertaining read - but I wouldn't rush to recommend it to my friends.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read. Sheds a light on prisons and correctional ...
Easy read. Sheds a light on prisons and correctional system. I I plan to watch Series on NetFlix to get more depeth of relationships of characters in novel. Thank you Piper
Published 4 days ago by Colleen Zrini
3.0 out of 5 stars But the real story is how wonderfully creative Jenji Kohan is for...
This book was interesting. But the real story is how wonderfully creative Jenji Kohan is for using this book as the basis for her Net Flix series. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Heather Leighton
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I purchased!
If you love the show, as I do, I think you will love the novel just as much. If you have yet to see the show, this novel will prepare you but also offer an (obviously) much truer... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Cinda
1.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed with the book
I was disappointed with the book. I was waiting for the story to pick up but it never did . It was a boring story.
Published 15 days ago by Lori Beatty
5.0 out of 5 stars so sad nothing is constructive about prison preparing people how to...
Yes, so sad nothing is constructive about prison preparing people how to really cope in life. No counselling, no education, no reality about the meaning of respect, empathy, and... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Pamspets
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. Came in time and in great condition
Everything I hoped for. Great read. Came in time and in great condition.
Published 1 month ago by Nicole Tardieu
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My favourite nook and now TV show.
Published 1 month ago by Elaine Franco
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into the community within the prison system as ...
Great insight into the community within the prison system as well as the mistreatment of prisoners. No wonder some of them go nuts!
Published 1 month ago by Ashley Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in a timely fashion...transaction was fast and smooth..
Published 1 month ago by NADENE KOOTOO
1.0 out of 5 stars a very boring read.
a very boring read....could not follow Piper's thread of being 'here and there' and she made herself seem so stoic ad unemotionable
Published 1 month ago by jennifer R bell
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