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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison Paperback – Mar 8 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; Reprint edition (March 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523394
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 20.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By diversitymatters on March 1 2014
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 By JMar88 on Oct. 10 2013
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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By momma182 on May 24 2015
Orange Is the New Black: My Time in a Women's Prison Honestly not what I was expecting at all. It was funny, sad, and horrifying all at the same time. I realize (as MANY other reviews point out) that Piper's story is a rare one. Very few people out through the American Prison System have the love and support of so many people. I wasn't blown away by the book, some things stood out for me, a little too much repetition, and a bit of confusion as to who was who, but over all I really enjoyed this book.Regardless of how common her situation is she still goes from a free woman to a locked up criminal (regardless of the level of security).It is easy for many people to say that she is whining about being sent to jail in the first place and that her memoir was written to further that whining. I don't see that to be the case. With this memoir, it feels (at least to me) that Piper is trying to share her time behind bars for two main reasons.The first is to give the rest of America (and beyond) a glimpse into a system that is a little more real than Martha Stewart's. She highlights in the book that Stewart's trial (and subsequent arrest) was at its height during her year in prison. Her "time in jail", as well as the story a fellow inmate told the press about; makes jail seam like a vacation. While Piper's story is not from the other end of the spectrum, it still allows for more of an inside view into the US Correctional System. The second and more important reason I found in the memoir was to show to general population that the lengths and severities of jail sentences do not always match the crime and can often be based upon looks and wealth.Read more ›
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reanne on Feb. 5 2014
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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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By Lea on June 1 2014
Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading about life in a women's prison. I thought Piper Kerman depicted the accuracy of prison life very well. The emotional range was interesting and valid. She found ways to be positive in an negative environment by physical activity and prayer. Her world changed dramitically inside and with the love of her family life, she was able to overcome adversity. I felt this was an honest story of life behind bars. I would say that for those of us who live on the outside that this story lets us know what does go on in being locked up with little resources to survive a life inside.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Frappier TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 27 2013
I wanted to like this ... but it fell a little flat. I picked it up after having finished watching the netflix series and hoped for a bit of clarification on what was truth and what was embellished fiction. I found that the writing of the book was a little disjointed, Piper Kerman would start describing a situation, then throw in the name of another inmate, share a short anecdote about that person, and then go off on another tangent about something else. That bothered me. I think Kerman wanted to focus more on what is wrong with the system and how to better help inmates rather than her actual story; but the draw to reading the book really is in the fact that a upper-middle class white girl ended up in jail for a year. I appreciated how honest Kerman was but thought that the book could have been about 100 pages shorter.
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