With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
I don't read a lot of memoirs. I only picked this up because I watched the show on Netflix. I didn't realize at first that it was based on a book, but when I did I was curious. I'm glad I watched the show first, or I might have been upset over how much the show deviated from the book. I realize, though that it takes a lot to keep a television series interesting. There is actually quite a bit that was taken straight from the book. Many of the characters and events in the show were at least inspired by something that occurred in the book.
I enjoyed the book. Piper explains what she did to land herself in prison and recounts her experiences there. She makes many observations of how the rules don't seem all that fair, and how race and class seem to play a big factor in how people are treated in the justice system. She also discusses how little is done for the women who eventually are released and she realizes how lucky she is to have so many resources. This book was eye-opening and very easy to read.
My Rating: *****
Steam Factor: n/a
*Notes: Some language.
My Source: library
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