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Orange Is the New Black

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  186,912 ratings  ·  14,613 reviews
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 —
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Spiegel & Grau
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Kayla It depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for a real-life account, a journey of self-discovery, and honesty/truth, then the book is way…moreIt depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for a real-life account, a journey of self-discovery, and honesty/truth, then the book is way better.
If you're looking to be entertained by drama, glam, sex, scandal, etc., you'll like the series.(less)
Allan I've just finished reading the book. I find it interesting that so many readers give it low stars while many others prefer the t.v. series. I'll take …moreI've just finished reading the book. I find it interesting that so many readers give it low stars while many others prefer the t.v. series. I'll take reality every time over made for t.v. dramas. As far as your question goes : yes, the book is definitely worth reading. It's obvious many of the readers have never done jail time as they so cavalierly dismiss her experiences. It's worth the read.

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  186,912 ratings  ·  14,613 reviews

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Larry Smith
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
[Spoiler alert as to the ending of the book! Read at your own risk.]
I'm biased because Piper is my wife, and I'm in this book. But I still think it's am amazing journey story. I'm pretty sure if I didn't know Piper I would be spreading the word on ORANGE just as I've done other books. I read a pre-hype galley of Eat Pray Love, thought it was amazing, and sent to at least 5 friends. So there. Read Piper's book: you'll be really glad you did.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Allow me to summarize: "So, I am a privileged, white girl who was lost and confused. I made some mistakes, including becoming involved with an international drug ring. Oopsie. However, by the grace of my own incredible will, I got out, met a nice boy, and became a productive citizen. Then boom! Somebody snitched, and the government baddies came and put me in prison. But I was stoic! My heavens, was I ever! I accepted my fate and the consequences for my actions. And I was also pretty special. Des ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group-books
What a shocker! A well-educated, upper class white woman goes to prison and builds strong bonds with her fellow inmates, who are mostly undereducated women of color from the wrong side of the tracks.

I liked the book and I liked her. I did. But it irritates me that she seems to be marketing the book as this revealing story about how we're all just human after all. I didn't find her writing condescending of the other women. I found her to be non-judgmental and a truly good friend to everyone wort
Miranda Reads
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Two hundred women, no phones, no washing machines, no hair dryers--it was like Lord of the Flies on estrogen.
Soooo....Piper Kerman screwed up.

She fell in love.

One thing led to another and the next thing she knew, she traveled the world as an international drug traffickers.


Ten years later, that drug ring was busted and her name was brought to attention.

So, it would be fair to say she screwed up colossally.

Despite the offence being a decade old, the current law forces all those w
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hated-it
I really wanted to give this a better review, because I love it on Netflix.
Maybe I would have liked it better if I hadn't seen the show first.
Basically, I felt like this story lacked depth, was repetitive and quite often felt phoney. I was annoyed by the constant reminders that Piper's blue eyes and blonde hair made her life pretty easy, and that her inclusion with the "popular" crowd (aka: Pop's friends) got her lots of perks. Characters were underdeveloped and there was no real flow. Oh, and d
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
So, I read the reviews and people in the "dislike" camp are right. It's a memoir, so it's about her experience. The author's well off and a WASP and she had it relatively easy in prison what with all the letters, books and visits she received from family and friends. There are no major conclusions about the sociology of her experience nor are there calls to action on ways for people to address any of the many things prison does not do for society. But I repeat, it is a memoir.

What we get is a l
Oct 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
It's not often that I outright dislike a book, but I disliked this one. Intensely. With a passion. I feel a little bad about that, as a good friend recommended it for our book club, but I'm guessing I had a surly face when I showed up to discuss it that evening.

In terms of the writing, my main gripe is that nothing happens. "How is that possible?" you ask. "This privileged, blonde, Smith graduate went to jail!" Yes. This is true. And I have no idea how it's possible that nothing happens, but thi
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I totally picked up this book because I love the show on Netflix and wanted to read about the real deal.

This is one of my favorite shows and it's funny because I could pick out some of the real people in the book that are in the show. Obviously the real names are not given.

Piper talks about the stupid, stupid drug stuff she got into with Nora. I mean moving drugs and money for a drug lord, come on. And then 10 years later, she gets caught and taken to jail! Just when you think you turned your
The details in this book were impressive, but it got tiring eventually. I suppose she had to stretch out everything that happened that year into those pages.
There were also a lot of women mentioned, and my head was spinning, trying to keep track of them.

Although well-written, the one thing I honestly didn't like about this memoir is that the author came off as a bit smug, like she was better than the other prisoners.
There was a "Mary Sue" impression I got of her, the woman who got along with ev
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: for those who enjoy autobiographies and memoirs, prison stories, interested in sociology
This book was remarkably enjoyable to read. The writing is light and breezy, and it’s very well written, though not beautifully written; it’s a very straightforward account.

Even though the author was so much more privileged than a typical women inmate, I got a good feel for not only her experiences but those of the even more unfortunate inmates.

I learned a lot about life on the inside. One main thing is if you’re a nice person and you treat others well and you’re open to relationships with other
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I have never watched Orange is the New Black, but a few GR reviews had me curious about the book that formed the basis for the show. I listened to the audio. It would be easy to be fairly negative about this book:

-As a white university educated upper middle class woman, Piper is completely unrepresentative of the general prison population -- for example, while other women worry about where they are going to live when they get released, Piper's fiancé is buying an apartment in Brooklyn.
-She comes
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Never judge a book by its television adaptation! Kerman’s prison memoir may lack the drama and the comedic banter that Netflix captured, but it is not worth tossing onto a never-read pile. It serves, as the show loosely does as well, to educate the public on some of the happenings within a women’s federal prison in the United States. Telling the short story of how Kerman got into the predicament, some of the interesting characters she met inside, and her journey through the maze that saw her lea ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman is a 2010 Spiegel & Grau publication.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have at least heard of the smash Netflix original series- “Orange is the New Black”. This is the book upon which the series is based.

I admit I have have not seen one single episode of television series. I have seen some ads for the show, and based on that I figured it probably wasn't my cup of tea. It looked too silly for my taste. But, while browsing the Overdrive library
Jul 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Did the makers of the show hone in on this book as a raw idea, then flesh it out to make the show? Because the show is freakin' GENIUS and...let's just say I am not picking up on genius from the book. It begins early on, when Piper lets us know that she wasted all those years in an elite university majoring in theater without any actual life goals in mind. And she doesn't seem embarrassed about this at all.

She goes through prison acting like a whiny, spoiled, entitled, rich brat. And then
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
There are so many things I liked about this book! In 2004, Piper Kerman spent a year in a women's prison for a decade-old drug offense. Her memoir is thoughtful, enlightening and, at times, humorous. I'm not surprised it was adapted into a successful TV series on Netflix -- it's a perfect fish-out-of-water story.

Piper -- who is a white, upper-middle class college graduate from Boston -- is upfront about how stupid she was in her early 20s. In 1993, Piper was hanging out with a woman, Nora, who b
Helen Power
Ten years ago, Piper Kerman made a mistake. She fell in love and became a criminal--transporting a suitcase of drug money across borders.  Now she has to pay the price:thirteen months imprisonment in a women’s minimum security prison. This book is her memoirs from this time.

My Thoughts
I came into this book expecting it to be like the TV show. I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t.  It isn’t an over the top or blatantly exaggerated or stereotyped version of what prison is like.  

May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a while ago now I watched the first two seasons of Orange is the New Black and found that while I liked most of the characters, I really didn't gel with the character Piper and I stopped watching the show. As a result, this book went from one I'd been considering reading to one I deliberately passed over. I didn't fancy a whole book of what I'd just watched and hadn't really enjoyed.

I'm glad I did give it a go in the end, because I enjoyed the real Piper Kerman a lot more than the fiction
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
As we always hear, conflict is the essence of interesting drama. I think that's the biggest problem I had with this story-- the author (and publisher) assume that the mere fact that a well educated white girl from a wealthy family will be going to prison is enough drama to float the entire book. They're wrong, but not by much.

Kerman's story is rather interesting in the first few chapters, but the crime and arrest lose about 90% of their immediacy because of the crazy ten year delay between them.
Mar 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
First, let me fully admit, that it is my own fault that I thought this was going to be a good book. I failed to pay attention to the title, which essentially screams Sex in the City meets Prison. Instead, I read the subtitle, My Year in a Women's Prison, and imagined that it was an entirely different book - one of substance. I also failed to notice that the cover endorsement quote is from the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Lastly, I work with prisoners, so I am particularly sensitive to inaccurate p ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some people go into therapy, some become artists, others follow a spiritual path to find their true selves. Piper Kerman went to jail instead. Convicted of being a drug courier, a youthful folly she got into when she was enamored of the woman who got her involved with this, she was arrested 10 years after the incident and had to serve over a year in prison. However, she emerged a changed woman: she saw how she had wounded so many people by her recklessness and self-centeredness, saw what drugs h ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I had watched season 1 of the Netflix series,prior to reading the book.That first season left me with very mixed impressions.

It was over the top,had some exaggeratedly ugly characters,was full of some very graphic sexual situations,was at times watchable and at times extremely off-putting.However,I was pretty sure I didn't want to watch all seven seasons of it.

Out of curiosity,I read the book.It is pretty tame stuff compared to the TV series.At times,it is downright boring.Piper Kerman's life in
Tylah Marie
This was so boring my gosh. Probably because I've already watched the TV show so I definitely had higher expectations but ugh... this took me 8 months to read that's how boring it was. Sigh. ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, memoirs
So, that was interesting. Not exactly the adjective I would expect to apply to a prison memoir. I rather enjoyed my time listening to this audio, which made Danbury sound like a bit of a sorority. Very unexpected.

The author told her version of her story, which ironically often felt light and breezy, giving me the sense that a lot was left out. While telling her story though, she brought up many issues and flaws in our justice system, focusing on the lack of restorative justice, sentencing inequa
S.P. Aruna
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's no doubt that this book is intelligently written, skillfully narrated, and finely detailed, yet I was still disappointed. It was not what I expected. Did I expect assault and other abuse against inmates, involuntary drugging, the tortures of solitary confinement and other horrors? Frankly, yes. Am I a sadistic, voyeuristic fan of sensationalism? No. But having read other accounts, such as the book The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk: Why I Refused to Testify Against the Clintons and What I Learn ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Having watched some of OITNB without succumbing to its apparent lure, I was skeptical about the book this popular series is based on, added to that, I tend to shy away from non-fiction. However, I come away from it feeling glad to have taken the plunge. Kerman comes across as flawed but thoughtful, and her insight into the prison system here in the US was fascinating and disturbing at once. She tells of her time in prison for a long past offense of her youth, but also of the crimes of many of he ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
So, I haven’t watched the show yet, but I’ve heard so much good stuff about it that I think I got my hopes up way too high for the book. Maybe 2 stars was a little harsh, because I did think it was well written and I found the subject matter interesting. However, I just didn’t like the narrator and had a hard time relating to her (despite her being small, blonde, blue-eyed, educated, runner, etc.). I think she was trying so hard not to sound whiny and condescending that she came across as whiny ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is a rare book that I didn't like yet it was a good book club selection. Why you ask? Because it sparked a lot of good discussion. I've never seen the show but several friends raved about how wonderful it was, so when I read this book I kept waiting for it to get good and it never happened.

Let's dig in...Piper wanted an adventure and her girlfriend point blank told her (up front!) she was in the drug business. Piper didn't flinch at this. Okay, for someone who didn't even dabble in drugs,
“We have a racially based justice system that overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn't make us safer.”
― Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black

Powerful quote. And I thought I'd love this. But I didn't.

She makes going to jail sound like a party. OK, Maybe that's extreme but..

I am sorry to be harsh but I read this book for my former book club. None of us enjoyed it. I myself could not believe the way Jail was described..such sunny terms! I did enjoy the beginning of the book and it does mak
First book of 2019 done.

We are all very familiar with the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Right? Well, I had been warned that the show took lots of creative liberties, and I was not told wrong. I was warned that this book was a complete snoozefest. I, however, did not find that to be the case at all. I can see where people who love the show would find the book a huge letdown. . I will not dwell too long on the show vs. book. I will quickly point out a few things and then try to write a
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: liked, memoir, kindle
I was hesitant to read this and, in fact, had it on my Kindle for months before I got around to reading it, because I'd heard it wasn't so great. But when I did finally read it, I regretted waiting so long. One of the main criticisms of this book is that Piper never seems apologetic for her crimes. I don't agree with that at all. For one, by the time she went to prison, it's nearly two decades since her crime. Secondly, I wondered throughout the entire book, what is the point of this sentence? I ...more
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Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book has been adapted into an Emmy Award-winning original series for Netflix.

Piper is a graduate of Smith College. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Cosmopolitan and other publications. She serves on the board of directo

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