Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison Reviews & OpinionsSubmit Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison review or read customer reviews:
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I've never seen the Netflix show, so I didn't have any preconceived expectations about this book. I'm sure most people are aware this book chronicles the author's 13 months in prison for being part of a drug ring. It it's well written, but the cast of characters could be confusing at times. Very insightful to what life is like inside a women's prison. However, I disagree with the author's constant railing against the social injustice of people being locked up for nonviolent offenses. Crimes do not need to be violent to have enormous effects on victims' lives. Prison is punishment. I do agree more should be done to prepare inmates to succeed after their release, but I don't believe criminals should not be imprisoned just because their crimes were nonviolent.
Prison fascinates and horrifies me. My favorite TV show is Prison Break, so I thought I'd give Orange is the New Black show a try. While the TV show wasn't for me, I'm glad I read this memoir about an upper-middle-class woman who goes to prison for a year. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a book reading/signing at a women's prison, and she is lovely in real life.Piper Kerman's real-life story chronicling her year in prison is insightful and times the writing impressed me, like this vivid description:"Miss Sanchez had long Frito-chip fingernails painted Barbie pink."There are interesting insights into prison life."Prison is quite literally a ghetto in the most classic sense of the word, a place where the US government not puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient--people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled. Meanwhile, the ghetto in the outside world is a prison as well, and a much more difficult one to escape from. In fact, there is basically a revolving door between our urban and rural ghettos and the formal ghetto of our prison system."My favorite "character" is the Russian wife of a mobster, Pop. Pop is the head cook, and gives invaluable advice to is story makes the reader inevitably wonder how she would handle imprisonment. I resonated with Piper helping an inmate write a paper. I also would try to fit exercise into my daily routine to stay sane. But really, it's hard to imagine how awful imprisonment would e groping from male guards infuriated me:"Other male COs were brazen, like the short, red-faced young bigmouth who asked me loudly and repeatedly, "Where are the weapons of mass destruction?" while he fondled me and I gritted my ere was absolutely no payoff for filing a complaint. A female prisoner who alleges sexual misconduct on the part of a guard is invariably locked in the SHU in "protective custody", losing her housing assignment, program actives, work assignment, and a host of other prison privileges, not to mention the comfort of her routine and friends."I like how prison statistics (like one out of 100 adults are locked up in the US) are told factually without a preachy tone. I'm also glad Piper mentioned feeling remorse for trafficking drugs--the very drugs that may have been used by her fellow inmates as part of their crimes. I can get behind the decriminalization of drugs for personal use, but I disagree with the notion that drug dealers are never violent.Overall, a good read, and I'm impressed Piper is giving back by teaching writing to prisoners.
God, I hate Piper. ON paper or on the screen, this woman does not get e book is nothing really like the show, a good thing in my opinion. Piper, a privileged white woman who imported cash and hard drugs with her girlfriend, whines about her sentence constantly mentioning how she only did it once and how it was a ten year old case. Cry me a river, I don't think she got enough time.I did like learning about the other women and how they were stuck in the system due to mandatory sentencing. I enjoyed (that's the wrong word, but you get the idea) learning how these women survived, how they made a community. If piper had maybe mentioned herself and situation and then removed herself, I would have liked it more.
I very much enjoyed reading purely from Piper's perspective. The writing is vivid, she reserves judgment of most of those she's incarcerated with, and she gives the reader clear insight into how her prison experience changed her in so many ways for the rest of her life. I suppose I took away one star only because I've been such a fan of the series, which is so packed with action and filled with both nasty and lovable characters that I kept expecting the story to "light up" like the screen. On the other hand, I found that Piper and Larry's relationship was genuine, one which provided Piper some measure of stability the character lacks, unlike her on again, off again relationship with Alex in the series.
SPOILERS KIND OF: Just got this book having watched the series (DOES NOT EVEN MEASURE UP TO THE SERIES). Very interesting memoir about a little yuppy Smithy girl who got caught up in her trendy lesbian romance to a drug smuggler and ended up in prison because (SURPRISE!)the girlfriend turned her in-how she deals with lock up and its characters and her romances and relationships on the outside. I really didnt want to like Piper (and DONT), but you will find yourself warming up to some of the prisoners she meets at the (so called) Danbury Federal Country Club prison which seems anything but. She is smug and her constant insisting that "I am not a racist" gets old-I highly doubt she was that popular in prison because she comes off as a bit of a snot in the book, perhaps she is delusional or was snorting some of the heroin she was smuggling. She just did an NPR interview and I liked her during the interview, different Piper than the one who wrote the book it seemed.And PLEASE,she knew exactly what she was doing and probably did more than what she was caught for. Here is my take on Piper: Trendy Lesbian, spoiled brat, entitled, narcissistic. If I were her "bunkie" she would have gotten the shank the first night she tried to prove how "down" she was by name dropping hip hop artists. You will never stop hearing how pretty, blond and "SMITHY" she is, NEVER.Let this book be a lesson to the blond, middle class white girls of the world, anyone can end up behind bars, you are just like those people you turn your noses up at if you commit a crime. Also suggest reading Wally Lamb's collection of female prisoner memoirs after you read this, "Couldn't Keep It To Myself" for another voice that isnt someone who had choices like Piper.If you watch the Netflix show, you will be disapointed. The characters on the show have more debth, even as you don't know their full story-I love how they tease you with little vinettes about how they got into jail or about their backgrounds. I think that was what bothered me the most, the unfairness, that Piper, this educated Smithy, can write such a book, but the women she is writing about will never write such a book, probably did not have her support in prison or out, and most of them arent living high on the hog now as Piper most likely l in all, this book was okay, it's an entertaining read, not the best written, but still a good summer book.
I decided to read this to see if Piper is as annoying in reality as the character is on the show. She is, but the real life Piper learned some lessons. She still comes off as a sanctimonious snob, but it's nice to know that people like her are not immune to real, life-altering repercussions. It was also cool to find out that the real Larry is a good guy.
As a journalism major in college, Piper Kerman's prose leaves a lot to be desired; as a marketing agent, she hit the gold mine. Seizing upon a little covered topic--women's incarceration experience and prison setting--Kerman found an interesting and informative topic. That she became a felon, herself, in order to write the prison memoir is disturbing. Kerman has self-induced benefits few prisoners share--intelligence, an ongoing suppy of books sent by friends and family, a supportive and living family and a boyfriend who visit weekly, a devotion to running as exercise and emotional escape, a refusal to let the prison experience destroy her, a capable lawyer, and even a relatively short sentence. The most compelling element of the book is that Kerman is honest about her own role in breaking the law which brings about incarceration and all the indignities that go with my book group, discussion of Orange Is the New Black focused largely on social and economic elements which lead to women's imprisonment the lack of rehabilitation and job training opportunities the system provides, and the high rate of recidivism. To Kerman's credit, these are among the themes of her book.
I am actually still reading the book; however, it is very useful in self-reflection and learning how to hone in rather than remove or assimilate. I think every black women in college should be reading this in a DeCal class and doing some heavy analysis on it since there is not many black women in these particular positions willing, able, or accessible to dole out this pertinent information. Thanks for the signed copy as well as the bookmarks that came with book!!! :)
The Little Black Book of Success is simply amazing. I have been waiting for a book on leadership that is for women of color for a long time. I have transformed from being "average" to "above average" in the workplace as I read this book and apply the principles. I wish I had this book when I graduated from college eleven years ago. Thank you so much.
This book is a must-have for women of color of all ages. The book is full of nuggets of wisdom learned from all the women in your life but neatly compiled into one little book. I like the way the book is organized. My favorite component is the MAMAisms at the end of each chapter. You have to read it in order to understand. I do wish that some of the chapters were longer but have learned from the authors that a workbook is in process. I can't wait! I would definitely recommend this book as a timeless resource.
This is a very good read and extremely helpful I recommend adding it to your arsenal for corporate America either your a shark or your chum the choice is yours but if your a shark this is the do's and don't that will enhance your career moves.
Maybe it was because of the political setting of the first three volumes... but this was more linear and I found this one just way easier to follow. The idea of the Orisha going missing is especially interesting and I hope that there is. Volume 5 released in the future. Definitely recommended!