Orange Is the New Black: Book summary and reviews of Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Orange Is the New Black

My Year in a Women's Prison

by Piper Kerman

Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman X
Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A compelling, often hilarious, and unfailingly compassionate portrait of life inside a women's prison, by a Smith College graduate who did the crime and did the time.
 
When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she was shortly after graduating Smith College when she committed the misdeeds that caught up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking. 

She spent 15 months in prison, 13 of them at the infamous women's correctional facility in Danbury, CT, which she found to be no "Club Fed." There she not only gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, but also met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. In Orange Is the New Black, Piper Kerman tells the dramatic story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and often arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.

Revealing, moving, and enraging, Orange Is the New Black is a bold and wholly original entry in the canon of prison literature.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kerman's account radiates warmly from her skillful depiction of the personalities she befriended in prison .... Kerman's ordeal indeed proved life altering." - Publishers Weekly

“I loved this book, to a depth and degree that caught me by surprise. Of course it’s a compelling insider’s account of life in a women’s federal prison, and of course it’s a behind-the-scenes look at America’s war on drugs, and of course it’s a story rich with humor, pathos and redemption: All of that was to be expected. 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. That was the surprising twist: that behind the bars of women's prisons grow extraordinary friendships, ad hoc families, and delicate communities. In the end, this book is not just a tale of prisons, drugs, crime, or justice; it is, simply put, a beautifully told story about how incredible women can be, and I will never forget it." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

"I can't stop thinking about this marvelous book, about the generous and lovely women with whom Piper Kerman served her time. I never expected to pick up a memoir about prison and find myself immersed in a story of grace, of friendship, of loyalty and love. I have never read anything like this book, and I will read and reread it again and again." - Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother and Daughter's Keeper

The information about Orange Is the New Black shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Louise J

Eye Opening
Ten years ago, Piper Kerman was a young reckless, carefree recent college graduate. Not knowing what else to with her life she made some decisions and those choices have finally caught up to her. Ten years prior she delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe never dreaming she’d ever be caught, especially after all this many years.

Sentenced to 15-months in the Danbury, Connecticut prison for women she was now prisoner #111187-424, just one of the millions of people incarcerated in the United States each year.

On February 4, 2004, 10 years after she committed her crime, Piper’s boyfriend, Larry, drove her to the prison and kissed her goodbye for the final time. Together they walked inside, took a seat and waited. It wasn’t long until a guard with a nasty scar down the side of her face and neck barked out: “KERMAN!” and thus began Piper’s first day of incarceration where she’ll meet women from all walks of life, experience her first strip search, and learns how to navigate her strange new world.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, science & current affairs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.