Sunday, September 20, 2015

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black
Piper Kerman

Orange Is the New Black

Genre: Memoir

Summary (from Goodreads): With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her; convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous women's prison in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424. From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with tokens of generosity, hard truths and simple acts of acceptance.

Review:  Quite a few reviews of this book focus on how Piper seemed to have such an easy jail sentence because she is white, blonde, educated and cute.  While the term she served in prison did seem to be easier than what I would have imagined, she approached her sentence with a sense of humility and repentance that I found refreshing.  There was surprisingly little drama, fighting and violence in her minimum security prison, and so there wasn't really much drama in her story.  I've only seen one episode of the show, but I suspect I'll like the book better just based on the blatant mean-spiritedness and lesbianism evident in the first episode of the show that just wasn't a big deal in the book.  On a separate note, this book could really make you think about the benefits of a jail sentence for a non-violent criminal, and what could or should be done to improve the punishment for non-violent crimes.  It would be interesting to discuss this book with a book club.

Rating: 4 stars

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