When FBI agents knocked on her door to investigate a ten-year-old crime, Piper Kerman barely resembled the reckless young woman she was shortly after graduating Smith College. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking a decade earlier.
Following a plea deal, she spent 15 months at “Club Fed,” the infamous women’s correctional facility in Danbury, CT, where she not only gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, but also met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.
In Orange Is the New Black, Piper Kerman tells the dramatic story of those long months under lockdown, in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fistfight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.
Revealing, moving, and enraging, Orange Is the New Black is a bold and wholly original entry in the canon of prison literature.
First Impressions: I was really interested in having some insight into what prison is really like, so along with the high praise the book has received, it seemed like an interesting choice.
I read Orange is the New Black almost consistantly within a 12 hour span (I had to sleep at some point). All I can say is that it was so interesting. I don't read very many non-fiction, but I can definitely see the appeal in reading something you know is true. Piper's story is an incredible journey that completely changed her life. It wasn't a story about convicts and how terrifying the prison system was (although it did have its moments), but about the people you meet and the social customs that are so different from the outside world.
Final Impressions: Really interesting and well written novel. I definitely enjoyed it.