With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her; convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous women's prison in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424. From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with tokens of generosity, hard truths and simple acts of acceptance. Now an original comedy-drama series from Netflix, Piper's story is a fascinating, heartbreaking and often hilarious insight into life on the inside.
Relying on the kindness of strangers during her year's stint at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn., Kerman, now a nonprofit communications executive, 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 with little education and facing much longer sentences than Kerman's original 15 months. Convicted of drug smuggling and money laundering in 2003 for a scheme she got tangled up in 10 years earlier when she had just graduated from Smith College, Kerman, at 34, was a "self-surrender" at the prison: quickly she had to learn the endless rules, like frequent humiliating strip searches and head counts; navigate relationships with the other "campers" and unnerving guards; and concoct ways to fill the endless days by working as an electrician and running on the track. She was not a typical prisoner, as she was white, blue-eyed, and blonde (nicknamed "the All-American Girl"), well educated, and the lucky recipient of literature daily from her fianc , Larry, and family and friends. Kerman's account radiates warmly from her skillful depiction of the personalities she befriended in prison, such as the Russian gangster's wife who ruled the kitchen; Pop, the Spanish mami; lovelorn lesbians like Crazy Eyes; and the aged pacifist, Sister Platte. Kerman's ordeal indeed proved life altering.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Don't judge a book by its cover
I get that tying this book in with the TV series makes sense on a marketing level. However, anybody buying this thinking it resembles the TV series will be disappointed. Although he TV series has taken some of the characters and nuances the two are very different beasts.
What you do get is a frank memoir of life in a women's prison in America, shining a light on the failings of the system. It is a fascinating insight into the system and one women's journey within it. Pipers journey is fascinating and it's easy to empathise with her and the people she meets along the way.
Enjoy the book for what it is, just don't expect the TV version.
Arguable one of the best books I've read. TV show is even more brilliant!
I read this prior to the show, and I have to say the book was lovely. Very open very honest. I would recommend this book to others.
On a side note I found the show entertaining if nothing like the book.