Sunday, June 29, 2014

(58)Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Orange is the New Black

Pages: 352

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 6, 2010

Piper Kerman is going to prison for a crime she committed more than ten years ago.  For the last six years she knew this day was coming, the day she surrenders herself to the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut.  And now the day is finally here.  With great reluctance she tells her fiance, Larry, good-bye and she enters a world that many of us (thankfully) have never entered.  Over the next thirteen months Piper meets some truly unique women and experiences a sort of sisterhood she never thought she would experience in prison.   Then she does the wonderful thing and shares her experience with the rest of the world.  From her surrender day, to being assigned a "bunkie" to being assigned a job, smuggled contraband and so much more, we really get a look at what life is like in the prison system and it isn't pretty. 

Orange is the New Black was one of the first books I purchased when I bought my first nook back in 2010.  I thought about pulling it up from the bottom of my list when the show first aired on Netflix, but it wasn't until we started watching it last week that I finally got around to reading it.  Like so many of you, I was absolutely captivated by the dynamic relationships in the show.  Piper and Larry.  Piper and Alex.  Piper and "Crazy Eyes".  What I found when reading the book is that while so many of the things depicted in the show are true there is a lot of creative licene taken with other things.  And that is okay.  Both the show and the book are fascinating enough to stand exclusively with just a hint of overlapping.  "Red" in the show is "Pop" in the book and are about the same.  Russian mother figure to many inmates who rules the kitchen with an iron fist.  "Alex" in the show is "Nora" in the book and doesn't even enter the picture until towards the end of the book and Piper's term. You have to read the book to find out if their relationship behind bars is accurately depicted in the show. ;)  There was a scene in the show where Larry gives the radio interview and it cuts to the scene of "Crazy Eyes" crying in her bunk moved me so much that it haunted me for days.  I didn't get that "haunted" feel from the book at all, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a fantastic read.

Bottom line, even though the show is based on the memoir Orange is the New Black, there are enough differences to make each fantastic in their own right. The book is one person's account of what prison is like and Piper is smart enough to know and point out that her experience was much, much better than the average experience.   Have you read the book?  Watched the show?  I would love for you to weigh in with your thoughts.


Betsy said...

Loved the book....liked the show. Piper was easier to like in the ooh. :)

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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