Orange Is the New Black Orange Is the New Black discussion


232 views
Banal Book

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Anna (last edited Apr 11, 2016 07:25PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna James Wish I wouldn't have contributed to her bank account by buying this banal piece of pop reading. It was the most anticlimactic, self congratulatory, boring book I have ever read. Page after page are not her musings on fellow prisoners infinitely more interesting experiences, but rather her gloating about how her "amazing friends and fiancee" get her through her difficult time in prison. The most traumatic thing that happened to her was a sexual innuendo an overbearing guard made to her. I gave it to a friend and she forced herself halfway through and decided not to waste anymore time on it. Please dont waste your time on this drivel, either. It's not worth a dime or second of your life.


Marcy OMG, I heard all about this on NPR and thought it sounded fantastic. It's on my "to read" list. This is disappointing.


message 3: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna James Please don't read it. It's truly not worth the money. I would suggest any book by Jon Krakauer or Cormac Mcarthy. Or even Victor Frankl. Those are great books!


message 4: by Chickenlips422 (new)

Chickenlips422 Anna is so right---don't waste your time reading this book. Luckily I got the book from the library, so I didn't contribute to her bank account.
I have read this book twice (in a year span) for 2 different book clubs. I was kind of hoping that it would be better a second time. NOT !
She is not sorry for what she did and it embarrasses me as a Smith College alum that her book is even read. Note: I have not seen the book on TV which I have been told is more skin than story.


Mike Daly It was an easy read but certainly not accurate. She made it sound like an all inclusive retreat people could consider. And while I don't discount that there are many, many people that are there that don't belong there, I also doubt that everyone there is as positive, rehabilitated and steeping out into the bold new world and being successful as the author would have us believe. And how do you make friends with the people who put you there? Go figure. Would not recommend - unless you consider it fiction.Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison


Chuck I concur with the opinions above. I read it after watching the Netflix series, and was greatly disappointed. The series is nothing like the book, so much so that I would call it fiction that is only very, very loosely based upon the book.


Bridget I really enjoyed this! I watched the series first so perhaps was biased but it provided an interesting peak into a world I'd never thought much about: low security prison.


Amanda I actually really enjoyed the book. But I do agree it made prison seem like a walk in the park. I think it would definitely not be recommended reading for somebody entering prison as they would probably expect the same experience. It was a low security prison though so I guess that's something. She was extremely lucky to have so much support and what she had waiting for her on the outside when so many women have nothing but I really felt she did empathise with these women and I found it to be genuine. As a side note, I absolutely LOVE the tv series! It doesn't have much reflection on the book so check both out.


Paul Lima Enjoyed the Netflix series, and the book. Wouldn't use banal to describe either. They were different, but I can see where the series came from, and liked how they fictionalized her story -- add more of a narrative, rather than episodic frame to it. The book, based on her experiences, had to be episodic.


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa I liked the book!
I thought it was well written and I liked her outlook on things.
I watched the Netflix series afterwards.
We all know how they change things to fit the tv viewing market.
They were both good in their own way


message 11: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna James I stand by banal for sure. I'm not one to comment ever on how badly something is via the internet, but this one made me want to tell the whole world to avoid it. Between "I did this awesome thing for this inmate" and "my fiancé is so wonderful" there was nothing exciting in any way shape or form. The people must have been way more interesting than she described, but patting herself on the back so much gave have her little time to describe women who truly deserve some spotlight. I felt like their lives must have been more worthy of a book than pipers. I've never watched the netflix show but I'm sure it's good.

I'm only writing this in hope that someone will avoid this boring book. It was literally a hundred pages or so of waiting for something remotely interesting to happen. Then a prison worker made a crude sex joke. Then the end.

There are so many other books out there worthy of attention!


Silverblue A total crappy waste of anyone's time/money.

If the husband isn't a journalist and helping in overblowing the author's experience in a book form, it wouldn't be such an overblown nothing/noneity.

Yes, I read the book and expected "I'm truly sorry for what I'd done and those whom I've hurt through my actions, paid my due and learned my lessons." Instead the book is I'm a preveleged blond and don't deserve to be punished crap and why-me-I-just-did-some-drug-smuggling-and-do-I-have-to-pay-for-it? crap.

How many got way more than she did for exactly what she did? But we're talking about justice in AMERICA.

So, the book is NOT worth one minute of any attantion from anyone, let alone shows. there are more worthy authors on whom money and attention should be spent.


Jessica This book was pretty bad...

save time- watch the show... it is immensely more entertaining. Kudos to Jenji Kohan for being able to extract the premise for a great show from such a mediocre book!


Bettycindy I'm on the banal bandwagon. I watched the Netflix series and loved it. Then I checked the book out of the library (thank goodness I didn't buy it!) and was really surprised at the difference. The author never admitted she did the smallest thing wrong. It was a whole book about how nice she was even though she was in a bad place. None of the other people in the book were developed or fleshed out at all. Series does that much better--pretty unusual since I always find the book to be better than the movie!


message 15: by Joe (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joe I have to agree. Although I liked her writing style and found the book very easy to read, it wasn't very interesting. Everyone basically in her experience was nice and supportive of her, inside the walls and out, and actually she paints a quite positive picture of women's prison. I found myself actually jealous of the amount of free time for exercise and reading that she had!
I'm not suggesting at all that she manufacture conflict where it didn't exist, but an exploration of her troubled past and relationship with her co-conspirator would have been interesting and contrasted nicely with what she wrote about her time served. Because you don't get anything on who she was in the past and little about who she became, her experience seems less trans-formative to this reader. I didn't feel like I knew any more about Piper after I finished the book.
I hate to say it, but this is a book that doesn't get published if she wasn't a 'nice blonde girl'. I also blame the Oprah effect.
None of this is a reflection on Ms Kerman as a person, and I am in no way belittling her experience, I just felt the book was lacking.


Courtney Marcy wrote: "OMG, I heard all about this on NPR and thought it sounded fantastic. It's on my "to read" list. This is disappointing."
it was a GREAT book, a little anticlimactic but overall much better than the show...


message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Amanda wrote: "I actually really enjoyed the book. But I do agree it made prison seem like a walk in the park. I think it would definitely not be recommended reading for somebody entering prison as they would pro..."

Maybe that should make people think about the American prison system. In many ways, our prison system is a joke. Compared to other countries, our prisoners are on vacation. Maybe that is why so many people do not have enough fear of going back. Plus, this is minimum security, not max. They are very different worlds.


Candy Sparks I read this via audiobook and found it very interesting. I could actually relate with her and her feelings due to being a Veteran myself. Oddly enough the Military and Jail time is almost the same. I also visited her page to see what she looked like from there I found out that she is an advocate for females in jail. She lobbies for them. She contributes to their charities. You might have not liked the book but your purchase helped her fight for women's rights in jail.


message 19: by Dawn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dawn While this book was definitely NOT one of the better memoirs I read, I do not regret having read it. I found much of the memoir interesting and informative, even as the narrative dragged in places. For one thing, the fact that it portrays one woman's experience with the prison system, even as that experience is limited, makes the memoir worthwhile. So while I would not label it "banal" myself, I can certainly understand why a reader would. It did not stack up against other more literary memoirs I've read like The Glass Castle, The Year of Magical Thinking, anything by Mary Karr, or even The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok. I, too, am thankful I borrowed this one from the library instead of jumping to purchase it as I so often do-- that would have been a regret! However, I do enjoy the Netflix series, which is only loosely based on the memoir.


message 20: by Suge (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suge I thought the book would be better.


message 21: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee Candy wrote: "I read this via audiobook and found it very interesting. I could actually relate with her and her feelings due to being a Veteran myself. Oddly enough the Military and Jail time is almost the same...."

I actually made a joke that if I ever write military memoirs is going to be some similar jokes - so much reminded me of deployment on a ship


message 22: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff I'm a bit surprised by how much people hate this book. I did not read it but listened to the audiobook. Does that make a difference? It is much less dramatic and funny than the terrific Netflix series, but she raises some valid and compelling points about the inadequacies of the penal system in the US that is not substantially dealt with in the series. Bringing awareness to this topic makes the book more worthwhile.


message 23: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee Jeff - I listened to the book as well, I think the narrator (Cassandra Campbell) did a great job - I haven't watched the series yet (I just got it on DVD from the library) - but I can see where ppl who maybe experienced the show first would have issues with the book


Prity Malhotra No Prison Break,Rapes,Sex,Powerplay,Harrassment,Prison-Fights etc etc Good God Piper, you made PRison such a Boring Place.


back to top