Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Report - Orange is the New Black

Title: Orange is the New Black
Authour: Piper Kerman
Length: 298 pages
How long it took me to read: 4 days
Grade: B

What it's about: 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

The ending is the most important part: The ending was wonderful and made me smile so much.

Last word: I was so surprised at how positive this book was. I really enjoyed this.

Spoilers after the jump

I had heard so much about the series on Netflix, that when I found out it was a book, I decided to read it. It had been on hold for so long at the library, that by the time it was my turn, the novelty had worn off and I had lost some of my original interest. I also hesitated reading this because it is a story about women's prison, so I was worried about having to read about rape, violence and terrible language. I almost just returned it to the library, but when I saw it was less than 300 pages, I decided to give it 100 pages.

I was happily surprised that there were no graphic scenes in the book at all. There was a really positive message about how the prisoners get treated like animals, but they are people, they have people who love and care for them, and they can be rehabilitated.

The only thing I didn't like was it was hard to keep all the people straight. Ms. Kerman refrained from using real names and distinguishing characteristics in order to keep their identities private, so it was hard to remember who everyone was. I kept thinking, "Who was Poughkeepsie again?"

There is foul language, but it's not gratuitous. There is mention of same sex relationships, but it is not graphic. There is talk of violence against women, but it is not described in detail. Ms. Kerman was in a low security prison, so it's not like all the prison movies you see, which was interesting to me. I haven't watched the show, but in hearing a couple of the story lines, I doubt I will watch the show because it seems to me like the book is very different from the show.

I do recommend the book.

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