Book review: Orange is the New Black

The comedy-drama book “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” was written by Piper Kerman. It talks about her real-life experience serving 15 months in a federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut. This book explores not only Kerman’s life but the other inmates with mild to serious sentences, prison guards who decide your fate and the life she tries to keep up with Larry, her fiancé.

Kerman was sent to prison for a reckless crime she committed ten years ago with her lesbian then-girlfriend who dealt drugs for a kingpin and used Kerman to launder money. The Smith College alumna talks about her wild young life, the adventures she wanted and certainly got, the friends she made and the places she went. The once sweet and innocent girl became a federal inmate who got to know her crime very well, and learned that she couldn’t hide from her past. Her transition from eating organic foods, homemade dinners and outings with friends were then replaced by stories of her day-to-day survival in the correctional system and how the strictly enforced codes and rules made or broke her time she has to serve. All she wanted to do was get the sentence over with and go back to her career, fiancé, loving family and friends.

The visits she received from friends and family were priceless and brought her comfort and joy. As much as she was eternally grateful for the support, it was never taken for granted. Not everyone in the prison got visitors and when they did, it was a big deal for them.  As she got used to being inmate #11187–424, she learned to accept her punishment and vowed to make the time go by fast with distractions to keep her mind busy, all the while seamlessly becoming somewhat of a mentor to the women who get to know her. She talks about the difficulty she faced the day she surrendered herself to the prison, her first strip search, the women she met from all walks of life, to the moment of her final release. This book is currently number nine on the New York Times Best Sellers list. It is also a Netflix original series created by Jenji Kohan that was first released on July 11, 2013. Season two will be airing sometime this year. Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman and Jason Biggs plays Piper’s fiancé Larry Bloom.

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