Kerman neither sentimentalizes nor lectures. She keeps the details of her despair to a minimum along with her discussion of the outrages of the penal system, concentrating instead on descriptions of her direct experiences, both harrowing and hilarious, and the personalities of the women who shared them with her.
Kerman puts us inside, from the first strip search...to the prison-issue unwashed underwear to the cucumbers and raw cauliflower that count as salad.... This book is impossible to put down because she could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.
Los Angeles Times
Orange transcends the memoir genre's usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you. You'd expect bad behavior in prison. But it's the moments of joy, friendship and kindness that the author experienced that make Orange so moving and lovely…You sense [Kerman] wrote Orange to make readers think not about her but her fellow inmates. And, boy, does she succeed.
Ten years after a fleeting post-Smith College flirtation with drug trafficking, Piper Kerman was arrested–a P.O.W. in the war on drugs. In Orange Is the New Black, Kerman presents–devoid of self-pity, and with novelistic flair–life in the clink as less Caged Heat and more Steel Magnolias.
Relying on the kindness of strangers during her year's stint at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn., Kerman...found that federal prison wasn't all that bad. In fact, she made good friends doing her time among the other women, many street-hardened drug users.... Kerman's ordeal indeed proved life altering.
Kerman finds herself submerged in the unique and sometimes overwhelming culture of prison.... Kerman quickly learns the rules...and carves a niche for herself even as she witnesses the way the prison system fails those who are condemned to it, many of them nonviolent drug offenders. An absorbing, meditative look at life behind bars. —Kristine Huntley
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