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

Piper Kerman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,664 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $10.01 (63%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Relying on the kindness of strangers during her year's stint at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn., Kerman, now a nonprofit communications executive, found that federal prison wasn't all that bad. In fact, she made good friends doing her time among the other women, many street-hardened drug users with little education and facing much longer sentences than Kerman's original 15 months. Convicted of drug smuggling and money laundering in 2003 for a scheme she got tangled up in 10 years earlier when she had just graduated from Smith College, Kerman, at 34, was a self-surrender at the prison: quickly she had to learn the endless rules, like frequent humiliating strip searches and head counts; navigate relationships with the other campers and unnerving guards; and concoct ways to fill the endless days by working as an electrician and running on the track. She was not a typical prisoner, as she was white, blue-eyed, and blonde (nicknamed the All-American Girl), well educated, and the lucky recipient of literature daily from her fiancé, Larry, and family and friends. Kerman's account radiates warmly from her skillful depiction of the personalities she befriended in prison, such as the Russian gangster's wife who ruled the kitchen; Pop, the Spanish mami; lovelorn lesbians like Crazy Eyes; and the aged pacifist, Sister Platte. Kerman's ordeal indeed proved life altering. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Just graduated from Smith College, Kerman made the mistake of getting involved with the wrong woman and agreeing to deliver a large cash payment for an international drug ring. Years later, the consequences catch up with her in the form of an indictment on conspiracy drug-smuggling and money-laundering charges. Kerman pleads guilty and is sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Entering prison in 2004—more than 10 years after her crime—Kerman finds herself submerged in the unique and sometimes overwhelming culture of prison, where kindness can come in the form of sharing toiletries, and an insult in the cafeteria can lead to an enduring enmity. Kerman quickly learns the rules—asking about the length of one’s prison stay is expected, but never ask about the crime that led to it—and carves a niche for herself even as she witnesses the way the prison system fails those who are condemned to it, many of them nonviolent drug offenders. An absorbing, meditative look at life behind bars. --Kristine Huntley

Product Details

  • File Size: 1778 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (April 6, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4B6M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
683 of 760 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but ultimately disappointing June 23, 2010
Format:Hardcover
I got interested in reading Orange is the New Black after reading an excerpt in the New York Times, and reading an article from Piper's fiance Larry in the Times as well. I just finished it, and I found it really interesting - the details she provides on life in prison, the rituals, the jobs, the treatment of prisoners, is really fascinating and a view on a minimum security prison I'd never seen before. But I was often frustrated with Kerman's lack of details - I had no sense of how it was that she was free to just go do yoga or run around the track whenever she wanted, or what kind of hours she worked at her electric and construction jobs. I was really moved by the descriptions of the other women in prison and of the friendships she formed, but I also had trouble keeping the women straight, especially when she'd bring up a name that she hadn't mentioned in several chapters, and I would try to remember who Delicious or Pom-Pom or Toni was.

I did find her to be a bit smug, going out of her way to explain that while most prisoners kept to their ethnic "tribes," she was friends with everyone, other prisoners came to her for help with their homework or legal work, she lent out all of her books and gave away all of her possessions, etc. While I liked her voice, I felt she went overboard in trying to portray herself as non-racist, and as someone who didn't feel above everyone she was incarcerated with.

Mostly though, I was disappointed in the ending. For the last 100 pages, I was looking forward to the end, to what happens when Piper gets home. She ruminates a lot on the balance between getting used to prison rituals but not getting so comfortable that you forget the outside world, so I wanted to know how she found the adjustment to home, whether there was any tension with Larry.
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471 of 543 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very different from the Netflix mini-series.... July 13, 2013
Format:Paperback
I really liked this book. It is written like a series of sequential articles rather than a narrative with true character development, but it still provides interesting insights into the rhythm of institutional prison life, with its mind-numbing bureaucracy and its mash-up of humanity trying to adapt or deal with incarceration. It is told from Kerman's pov, and thus her reactions to life in prison make up the bulk of the book, but she still provides a lot of food for thought about our prisons and the people who live in them.

I came to the book through the Netflix mini-series, and the only reason I watched that was because of Kate Mulgrew who is "Red", but I found myself completely drawn in by the series story line and the lives of the characters in the movie, in spite of the fact the show was much, MUCH more shockingly graphic than anything I typically enjoy (used tampon sandwich for starters). After the mind-blowing ending of the first season of the mini-series, I had to read the book to see whether something like that incident really happened. The answer is thankfully no. There are no deaths in this book, no overt sex, no pregnancy drama, no drug-running drama, no brutal attacks, and so on.

It is difficult for many people to have compassion for people who are in prison or to care about their living conditions since they "made their bed", but I think books that remind us of our common humanity with "others" are important and worth reading, and so I added a star to the book's rating.

Recommended. And if you are put off by the graphic nature of the mini-series, this book is a "safe" read. If you are hoping to read graphic descriptions of events portrayed in the mini-series, you will be disappointed.
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590 of 728 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Piper..... July 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Didn't everyone really go to high school with Piper Kerman? She is just the stereotypical, little, mean-girl, blonde, who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She makes an absolutely abysmal life choice, that she shrugs off as happening due to her being bored and adventurous, even though life has given her every advantage, and after 11 years finds herself dropped into the middle of the cesspool that is the American prison system. Piper weathers this storm by cleverly befriending the ethnically diverse group of unfortunate inmates that she discovers are as heartbreakingly vulnerable to being befriended by the homecoming queen with the acid tongue and entitled attitude as the poor homely and uncool girls in any high school in the country would be.

Piper is a shameless narcissist. While she is receiving more visitors, mail and commissary money than she knows what to do with from her uber supportive and financially well-off family and friends and benefitting from the best legal defense money can buy, she regales the reader with tales of the poor, UGLY, uneducated, inmates that occupy Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut. These poor woman have suffered from lack of decent legal representation and Lord knows what other horrors in their lives and Piper congratulates herself ad nauseam for being kind to them...which in reality, is really all that she can do to survive in her new environment.

I have had this on my TBR list for a long time and decided to finally read it when I heard about the series available on Netflix. I found myself alternating between being disgusted at the vapid Kerman and being just bored and disinterested in the narrative.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ... appalled at how a young woman from such a nice family could get...
I was appalled at how a young woman from such a nice family could get involved in the drug trade. The prison she was sent to seemed so easy in most ways, and yet so awful in... Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Sandra McConnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, tough subject.
Well-written, enjoyable presentation of a tough subject. Displays the resilience of the human spirit and the woeful state of our so-called "correction" system. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by MBrookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it now where the heck is season two on dvd¿???????
Published 8 hours ago by Michelle Nelder
1.0 out of 5 stars But I'm sure I will enjoy it.
With Christmas around the corner, I haven't had time to read the book. But I'm sure I will enjoy it.
Published 9 hours ago by Margie Nelson
4.0 out of 5 stars I like true stories
I've never seen the show but I found the book ok. I like true stories. What can you say about the content if it's true. The kept it interesting and it was a fast read.
Published 11 hours ago by L. Proftay
3.0 out of 5 stars i like the show better
I read after seeing the show. Personally, i like the show better. That rarely happens!!
Published 11 hours ago by Linda Prendiville
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Loved it!!!
Published 1 day ago by LadyBags
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I liked the book. I have not seen the series. The book is honest and lets you see in to the world of a fed womens prison. Read more
Published 1 day ago by kris simpson
2.0 out of 5 stars ... care for the book but the Netflix series is great!
I didn't care for the book but the Netflix series is great!
Published 1 day ago by Amanda
3.0 out of 5 stars Orange is the New "Meh"
Sadly, not as entertaining as the Netflix series.
Published 1 day ago by misteradio
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How do you feel about the hype concerning this book?
Most male or female inmates never write about their experiences after release for two reasons. First, the obsessive fear that somehow, some way the long arms of the federal prison system might reach out and find a way to put them back in prison. The second reason no one speaks out is because once... Read More
May 3, 2010 by Bob Simkins |  See all 10 posts
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