Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black

My Year in A Women's Prison

eBook - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   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—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.   Praise for Orange Is the New Black   “Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”—People (four stars)   “I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love   “This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”—Los Angeles Times   “Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”—USA Today   “It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—   Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Random House Publishing Group, 2010.
ISBN: 9780385530262
Characteristics: 320 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 01, 2020

I was surprised with the lack of violence actually. I thought it was pretty boring. I watched the first 3 or so episodes of the series a few years ago and it was nothing like the book. I mean, I'm glad she had a good experience in jail, but it certainly wasn't what I was expecting

Eye-opening and entertaining, if not exactly the most surprising. Significantly different from the show. Book is better as always.

Mar 07, 2019

** spoiler alert ** I can't explain it but I have a fascination with books and movies about prisons. One of my favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption " and one of my favorite places in San Francisco is Alcatraz. The fact that this book is about prison is what interested me. I think I'm in the majority when I say that it starts out strong but frankly, Piper Kerman is a total idiot. Someone who graduated from Smith College should know that anything involving drugs is illegal. What a waste to go through school only to make a stupid decision about her future and then throw it away. Her account of prison life was interesting but after a while it sounded like she was enjoying herself. Apparently prison has gourmet meals, a hair salon, posh showers and bathrooms, TV and movies. The women she discusses don't sound like heroes and she made sure that her readers know that she was the most popular girl around. I tried to read this all the way to the end but after about 150 pages I couldn't take anymore of her description of herself as blonde and blue eyed. She received thousands of books, gifts and letters from those who "loved her". At the end of the book there is a Q & A session and she tells the interviewer how" horrible " prison life is but she makes it sound like a vacation. The book drags on and on and after a while I just had to.stop.

Aug 11, 2018

I must say, I prefer the book to what I've learned about the TV series! It's a lot nicer!

Apr 16, 2018

At 24 fucking years old you (Piper) should have know that dealing heroin was a fucking stupid thing to do and I have no sympathy for you. The book was mediocre. I have been told the TV series was much better.

Dec 07, 2017

The book was decent. I just found it was missing certain things, like more details and I find her writing style cold.

britprincess1ajax Aug 07, 2017

After watching the phenomenal show, I had to go back to the source material, Piper Kerman's synonymous memoir. It's markedly different from the series, more serious but not boring or hard-faced. The show takes from the reality described here but sometimes smudges the details, dispersing events to whichever prisoner it suits best. The show-to-book comparisons aside, this novel is incredibly honest or so it feels to me as a reader. I believe every word, like a confession between close friends. What gets me most about ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK is how Kerman crafts each sentence with painstaking precision. She uses beautiful evocative language to describe a dark and dim scenario. She never stutters, always choosing the perfect word to explain. You feel like you're there. Just like the Netflix streaming series, I'm absorbed. (Please note that, although centered on a women's prison, the book and the series will and do appeal to men. Don't feel pushed out. The show isn't here to spout gender rules.) For any reader who wants their eyes pulled open and their hair blown back, I recommend this articulate memoir and scathing expose' of the American prison system ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. (And certainly don't forget about the series.)

Jul 04, 2016

I greatly enjoyed this book! I watched the show and was curious how it compared so I read the book. Although very different, I loved the book even more as it felt more real. I definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you love the show!

Jun 07, 2016

Since I fell in love with the series on Netflix I wanted to read the book to more fully understand the whole story. The series stays true to the book only to a certain extent. The book is rich with detail and describes Piper's entire journey. I loved how much she was willing to admit, and how well she describes everyone. She was brutally honest and it was refreshing to read. A must read if you love the series! (Plus it's fun to go back and rewatch to see what they incorporated from the book and in what ways)

Jun 01, 2016

I particularly liked the Con-Air sequence. Unimaginably terrifying (and terrible) to be in that situation (commercial flights are already bad enough...).

View All Comments


Add a Quote
britprincess1ajax Aug 07, 2017

"No one who worked in 'corrections' appeared to give any thought to the purpose of our being there, any more than a warehouse clerk would consider the meaning of a can of tomatoes, or try to help those tomatoes understand what the hell they were doing on the shelf."

britprincess1ajax Aug 07, 2017

"Stoicism sure comes in handy when they take away your underpants."

britprincess1ajax Aug 07, 2017

"I shushed her and patted the blond curls she was so proud of, and inside I grieved angrily over the insanity of locking up children, and then returning them to neighborhoods that were more desperate and dangerous than jails."

Oct 27, 2015

Great institutions have leaders who are proud of what they do, and who engage with everyone who makes up those institutions, so each person understands their role. But our jailers are generally granted near-total anonymity, like the cartoon executioner who wears a hood to conceal his identity. What is the point, what is the reason, to lock people away for years, when it seems to mean so very little, even to the jailers who hold the key? How can a prisoner understand their punishment to have been worthwhile to anyone, when it's dealt in a way so offhand and indifferent? [pg 293]

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jul 14, 2014

ErinMWilson thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jun 05, 2014

rima_gabrielle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Nov 26, 2013

DellaV thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 17 and 99


Add a Summary
Jul 27, 2016

Piper goes into jail for crimes that was 10 years ago. She speaks of her and the inmates experiences in the prison.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top