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Review: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Orange is the New BlackWith 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.

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As a fan of the show, it’s hard to pick up the book and find that it not only fails to deliver on being hilarious, but also isn’t really all that entertaining. Even the introduction of my favorite character, Crazy Eyes, was lackluster.

Was there any interesting parts? Not particularly. While there are a lot of things that make you wonder how these prisons are allowed to operate so poorly, the story itself is about a entitled middle class woman who wound up going to jail. Even the Piper in the show, is a more interesting and sympathetic character than the author. If anything, she basically implies that she gets the Martha Stewart treatment during her stint in prison. Her days are full of tons of new books arriving daily, loads of visits from friends and family and overall, the golden treatment.

I did my best to keep reading, but it was about as interesting as a textbook. And honestly, her constant bragging about how much better her life was compared to others was beyond annoying. On top of that, she’s constantly referring to her looks as if they should be relevant to anything. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that she used them to her advantage to get out of the grunt work while in prison, as it seems like she still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that she actually deserved to go to prison because she broke the law.

Piper skims through life in prison. Sure, there are a few instances that she goes out of her way to discuss the other prisoners and what not. But for the most part, it’s about how her life is barely affected by her imprisonment. There’s not guilt, remorse or even shame expressed throughout this book. Sure, I think she was young and made a stupid mistake. But at the end of the day, she knew what she was doing was illegal and dangerous. Even worse, there’s little to no emotion expressed throughout this book. She even describes herself as her boyfriend’s lesbian friend and barely shows any real interest for the woman, Nora, who got her into trouble, in the first place. Perhaps this is to help highlight exactly how egotistical she is as a person.

This is a definite did not finish, but I read enough to rate it. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone, which is sad because I would highly recommend the show to everyone.




Gold Star


About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

One comment on “Review: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

  1. I was really considering picking this book. Thanks for the warning. Will stick to the show.

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