Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Two weeks ago, I binge watched season 1 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. And then I needed more, so I read the book!
Orange is the New Black is Kerman’s story of her 13 months in prison. In her younger days, she got mixed up with some shady business with drug trafficking. She came to her sense fairly quickly and turned her life around. Cut to 10 years later, her past caught up with her.
Kerman had to come clean to her family, friends, and new fiancée about her former life. She also had to come to terms with going to prison.
Orange is the New Black focuses on how Kerman adapted, the social order/groups in prison, and the women she met. She does touch on the failures of the prison system and the inefficiencies. I was drawn more to the stories of how she just gained some normalcy in day-to-day life.
One thing Kerman talks about a few times in the book was how the women kept wondering if Martha Stewart would be in their prison. Kerman was imprisoned during the Stewart trial. And it seems that Stewart wanted to go to her prison in Danbury to be close to her Mom. But no prison wanted Stewart for fear of the extra attention/scrutiny that may come to the prison. So Danbury was “full” until Stewart was sentenced elsewhere.
Another part of the book that I found interesting was how creative the women would get. Since they are without many things, they’d think outside of the box. Think microwave for gourmet cooking. Or think mixing lead shaving with vaseline to create eyebrow liner.
It made me wonder how I would cope if I was locked up. Would I use my time to read and do yoga like Kerman? Would I learn to make prison cheesecake? Would I just sleep most of the time? My bet would be on the sleep.
4.5 out of 5 stars
If you’ve already watched the show, I still highly recommend the book. But do not think that it will be completely similar. Although there is a Russian cook character, a transvestite, and a Pennsatucky in the book…many of the names are different in the book or stories different. Which did not bother me at all, just be prepared.