So this book I picked up a year or two ago because the TV show was a big hit. It was all you could hear people talking about. I had just recently started getting into non-fiction books and I thought that this book might be a good one to read too. Then I could binge watch the TV show. Well turns out the book was not that easy to get into. I stopped about halfway to read different books and it just sat on myself, halfway read, for about a year. I finally picked it up a couple days ago and decided I just needed to knock it out real quick. Only took me a couple days to finish the last half of the book. It is all about mind over matter people.
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman is a memoir of Piper’s time in an all women’s prison. She got sent there for a year on an 11 year old drug charge. It was something she had done when she was young and she had never thought that 11 years later it would end up with her in jail. So she tells the story of her time in the prison and all the women she met while she was there along with her experiences with the prison system in the United States.
I did really enjoy the parts about the different women in this book. Piper does a great job of fitting the personalities of all these different women into one short book. When you think of prisons you often think of hardened criminals and evil people but she shows that there are women who are just real people that made bad life choices. There is a scene about a family day at the prison. That was a really interesting, and enlightening, scene to read because these women were so excited to see their children. Some of them hadn’t seen them since the previous family day. You saw that these were real human beings inside this prison.
The one part of the book that really got on my nerves was that you could feel her pushing her cause throughout the entire book. She would write about certain things that would happen in the prison then there would be a two paragraph rant about the reform that needs to come to the prison system. To me it felt too pushy at times. I think she should have spent more time telling her stories of what happened there and then at the end of the book have a section of prison reform (which she did that on top of throughout the book) and that would have made a bigger impact. She should have let the events speak for themselves. Because instead of me feeling something for these women when something unfair would happen to them I would be rolling my eyes annoyed because I felt like I was getting a lecture from a parent.
It also took a very long time for her to get into the prison. The first 100 pages or so were just the events leading up to her being in prison. I have never seen the TV show but I have a feeling the producers took a lot of artistic leeway when it comes to the show to make it more exciting. From what I have heard from conversations about the show it is really different. A lot of the events that happen in the show did not show up in the book. Now this could be that she is giving them more details for the show that she couldn’t fit into the book (something that could have been changed had she removed her soapbox speeches) or it could be the typical Hollywood approach to a book. They don’t believe it could stand on it’s own.
Overall though this book was an interesting read. I would recommend it for those of you who enjoy non-fiction books. If you are hoping for the same hilarious and exciting story of the TV show I would suggest skipping the book and sticking to the TV show. Again though, I have never seen the TV show this is just going from what I have heard about the TV show.