Kerry's Reviews > Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
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Mar 05, 12

bookshelves: memoirs
Read in March, 2012

This isn't a perfect book, but I enjoyed it all the same. It's an interesting, if superficial, account of being in federal prison for a year. I am mean sure, we get that she's middle class and college educated, and what a shock prison must have been. Her grandmother dies while in prison and they couldn't be bothered to give her a furlough (she seemed to have expected it, really?), she makes friends, gets mad at some of the hardasses that work in prison, and emphasizes how many times she was stereotyped as a pretty, middle-class blonde. She says things like she's taking responsibility for her actions, but all the while it seems kind of trite - probably because she spends a lot of time explaining how much love and support she received while there and lamenting about how much she missed her boyfriend and family. Obviously that is a good thing that she has people that are behind her, but it just seemed a bit obnoxious at certain points, especially knowing how many people in prison have nothing. I was glad to see that she got out and made a life for herself, but this book didn't really make you understand how awful prison is. I've had some opportunities to spend time in prisons, touring, etc. as part of my work, and I just don't think this book really does much to explain many, many facets of the prison experience. Like the noise, dealing with crazy people, and the fighting that seems to go on everywhere but Danbury. You're kind of left with the impression that prison is like overnight camp that you can't leave. I just think this book wasn't deep enough, although the author does write well and I found myself alternating between feeling annoyed with her to feeling happy for her. I guess I'd say this book is worth a read, but consider it as a diary of sorts rather than a substantive look at incarceration.
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