If you own Netflix or don’t live under a rock, you have certainly heard of a recently popular show: Orange is the New Black. What not everyone knows is that the show was inspired by a novel called Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison. As a fan of the show myself, I was dying to know what was true and what wasn’t. The book answered some of those questions for me and also provided a bit of a surprise.
Piper Kerman was in her 20’s when she fell head over heals for a woman named Nora. Nora was exciting, adventurous, flirty…and a drug dealer. Piper knew these things and eventually, she took on a task for Nora: smuggling drug money. It was a one time event and eventually Piper left that life behind and began to settle down with a man named Larry. Fast forward 10 years and the law has caught up with Piper and her old drug offense. She is sentenced to a little over a year in a women’s prison. This memoir chronicles many brave and inspiring women that she meets, the trials that she faces and the problems with our prison system today.
This book was way more than I expected. Having seen the show, I thought it would be about crazy stories of prison life. And while yes, it is stories of prison life, it is really eye-opening. Piper gives us a look into what prisoners really face every day and asks the tough questions: Do these people deserve this? Is there a better way? How are we failing prisoners? These are things that the average person never has to think about but really, we should. Our tax dollars go towards housing prisoners and our society is made up of ex-convicts. Is locking these people up enough or should we be doing more? And how should prisoners really be treated? I give this book a 5 out of 5. I have really begun to think about these answers for myself and I hope this book will make you think too!