Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Published by Random House LLC on 2010
Genres: Biography & Autobiography,Penology, Personal Memoirs, Social Science
SOON TO BE A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES A compelling, often hilarious, and unfailingly compassionate portrait of life inside a women’s prison When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she’d been when, shortly after graduating Smith College, she’d committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch 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. Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. In Orange Is the New Black, Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and 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 offers a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, the reasons we send so many people to prison, and what happens to them when they’re there.
I read this book a while ago but I skimmed through it again today and once again I was upset. I really don’t know how to explain this but I will try.
You see the whole point of this book is how “I’m a smart white Woman this shouldn’t be my life.” One of the biggest problems in books and in entertainment is diversity or better yet the lack of diversity. I read an article yesterday explaining why white people like me should not believe in the myth of white privilege.
I have an older sister who is black. People always say “adopted” sister but to me she’s just my sister. I’ve seen first hand how she is looked at when we ever we leave the mall an the damn alarm goes off by mistake. She’s book smart and got into the school of her choice while I on the other hand was luck to make it on a few waiting list.
What does this have to do with this book?
Well can you imagine how this book would have been received had it been a woman of color who had written it? Piper whines about how unfair her life is! But here is the thing YOU DID IT! She’s freaked out and scared and I could understand that….well I can imagine how scary going to jail is. But what I hated was just how often we are supposed to pity her or hope she can finally just walk out of jail and be free. Not once did it ever feel like she owned up to her crime. She and all of her friends basically say “Well, you were young. People make mistakes, it’s okay, we are here for you.” That’s it. What?
OWN UP! Stop blaming your ex-girlfriend or your youth for smuggling drugs.
This whole books is supposed to be an eye opener on how we all walk down bad paths and the shocking friendships we make. However the moment she leaves Pop, Jae, and Natalie are all but cut out of her life almost like it never happened and she can just move on. We the readers now know she goes of to market her story and of course it’s seen as amazing. But the truth of the matter it’s not. There are thousands of people who get it far worse for much lesser crimes….some for not even committing a crime!
I’m not a fan of the show either but it’s better then the book.