Orange Is the New Black; My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

orangeAfter Piper graduated from Smith College, she decided to have some adventures.  One of them involved her, in a small way, in the drug trade.  Years later, her past caught up with her, and she ended up in the women’s prison in Danbury, Connecticut.  I would think that this prison for non-violent offenders, most jailed for financial or drug-related crimes, provided a much better environment than the average prison, but it still contrasted sharply with the life that Piper had been living.

Piper’s thought-provoking memoir tells about the difficulties of life in prison, her views on the justice and prison systems, and her guilt when she saw the pain she’d brought her loved ones and when she gradually realized her role in causing drug addiction.  But, most of all, it’s a heart-warming story about the kindness of her fellow inmates.  Despite differences in education, race, social class, and economic background, the women bonded with one another and taught each other how to survive – or even thrive – in prison.

Among those readers praising the book is Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Although I haven’t seen the popular TV series based on the book, I found this book a great read!

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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