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"Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" by Piper Kerman

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

AUTHOR: Piper Kerman

PUBLISHER: Spiegel & Grau

PUBLISHED DATE: March 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0385523394

PAGES: 327

At this point I have been watching the Netflix show, by the same name, for YEARSSSSS....and am just now finally reading this book.

....and to be honest...I'm glad I did.

The first season is extremely accurate to the book - save the whole Piper/Alex storyline. I now have a newfound respect for the actors who've brought these 'real-life' characters to the small screen, because they nailed it.

If you haven't seen the show, or read the book, let it be my pleasure to fill you in.

Piper Kerman, an upper-middle-class wasp with an ivy league education falls in love with an international drug-dealing lesbian during a tumultuous time in her twenties. After realizing that this woman, she at one time wanted to marry, views her solely as a drug mule, Kerman returns home and resumes her rightful place as an "upper-class blonde lady". After falling in love with a lovable Jewish boy who is always ready for a good time, and landing a well-paying job in New York City, Piper's past catches up to her, and she is sentenced to 15 months in prison for her role, now 10 years old, in a drug cartel.

Kerman tells this story with depth, humor, and deep conviction, and I was drawn all the way into the audiobook as if I had never watched the show at all. There are a few things that differ in the book from the TV series, but as far as the first season is concerned, these things are minimal.

Now...hardcore #OITNB fans probably are dying to know if I've seen season 5 yet, and how much do I love it. The answer to these questions are: (1) Yes, I have seen season 5 yet, and (2) I hated it. After trolling the hashtag #OITNB on Twitter, I have come to realize I'm in the minority, and I'm okay with that. After forcing myself to binge the season, I've spoken to loved ones who share my sentiment. Season 5 is a fake Black Lives Matter imposter - it seems the media is working overtime to delegitimize the real work that activists are out here doing, and none are as cringe-worthy as Season 5 of OITNB. My sister says she may very well be done with the show altogether, and I'm already beyond that point. She recommended Wentworth to me and well.... I've seen it...and.....

I couldn't let the conversation end without giving a shout out to the greatest prison drama of all time, Oz, which she had never seen.

NOW... Oz ain't for the faint of heart, but if you can handle some raw gritty truth telling - I would kindly like to put you on to this series. Oz is VERY explicit - so be FULL warned. I also dipped back and decided to re-watch Oz...and I was surprised at how much of #OITNB has "borrowed" from the original. The whole Piper/Alex love tryst was done already with Beecher and Keller. Poet is reminiscent of Tastee. Schillenger is Pennsatucky.... The riot..already done and done better in the Oz series. The flashbacks...also done better in the Oz series. Both series are sexually graphic, but Oz is far more violent. OITNB looks like a cheeky summer camp in comparison.

Recommendation: If you haven't read it already, it's a good read.

Audience: Grown Folks

*The book was borrowed on my library Hoopla account.

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