Book Review – Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black

This next one was my chronic back-burner book for a solid year. I nabbed it at a Little Free Library and had every intention of reading it right away. It was always my “next book”, but between book club, Book of the Month, and other books I’ve been picking up here and there, I struggled to get around to it. I finally committed to it, but, confession: I listened to the audio book on a road trip with my husband. This is the first time I’ve ever listened to an audio book. It is not the same experience. I questioned whether I should even review it, but I won’t be going back and actually sitting down with the book so, the review…

Book 17:
Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison
by Piper Kerman


March, 2011

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison is about Piper Kerman’s time in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT. After committing a felony in 1993, Kerman was convicted of money-laundering charges five years later and sentenced to 15 months in prison five years after conviction. Having already dramatically turned her life around, she pleaded guilty and served 13 months in the minimum security prison for female inmates. Her memoir details her time in prison from her relationships with new and old friends to the basics of what prison life is like. 

Favorite Quote(s):

“Every human being makes mistakes and does things they’re not proud of. They can be everyday, or they can be catastrophic. And the unfortunate truth of being human is that we all have moments of indifference to other people’s suffering. To me, that’s the central thing that allows crime to happen: indifference to other people’s suffering. If you’re stealing from someone, if you’re hurting them physically, if you’re selling them a product that you know will hurt them—the thing that allows a person to do that is that they somehow convince themselves that that’s not relevant to them. We all do things that we’re not proud of, even though they might not have as terrible consequences.”

-Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

Awards (based upon my brief research):
#1 New York Times Bestseller


My Overall Rating:
3.5 – I really enjoyed learning about prison life from the outside. My greatest emotion when reading this story was frustration for both good and bad reasons. For good, Piper unveiled the truth that inmates are not treated well and not well-prepared for re-infiltration into society (though she, herself, went into prison as a well-educated, young, engaged-to-be-married, white woman with a maximum 15 month sentence which, I imagine, was advantageous for her). This bothers me. What good are correctional facilities if they’re not actually correcting? Second, I felt Piper wrote off the magnitude of her crime. She committed a felony and often speaks of it as if she’s rolling her eyes while telling fellow inmates she’s been incarcerated for a 10 year old offense. 

My Husband’s Overall Rating:
3.5 – While he was interested in the story, his only complaint was there wasn’t a ton of action. He then acknowledged that because it was a true story, he was impressed her prison sentence went so well for her and was that anti-climactic.


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