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February 03, 2015

Book Club Book Review #8 - Orange is the New Black

Well its the first Tuesday of the month and that means it's Book Club time!! I know book review posts are not everyone's cup of tea ... but if it is, grab a cup! #epicjokefail

Just some "housekeeping" or updating for those who don't know. Several months back Kari and I started this little book club called "To Fill up and Live" on Goodreads and on our blogs. Every month on the first Tuesday, we review a new book and introduce the new one for the next month. Honestly, I have failed at promoting this baby and that is going to change. I do want people to participate and for everyone who loves to read to jump on board. We'll get there.

Anyhoosle, enough babbling .... on to the book of the month!

Piper Kerman (not as seen on TV hehe)

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.

Let me start by saying, I read this book before I ever watched one episode of the show. Typical of me. And let me tell you I am SOOO glad I did it that way. This book get's five stars for me (and I rarely give 5 stars) and it probably should from everyone. Why? Well ... for starters it was so well written that an award nominated show was based on it. Loosely based, but based  on it none the less. And in addition ... its just a good bloody book. 

I love autobiographies, even though I know they are not everyone's cup of tea. This one really kept me reading. While it is an autobiography, I find that it was written in such a way that any avid novel reader would enjoy. It was a story of a woman who found herself involved in illicit and illegal activities and who, although not the average "criminal" type found herself in prison. It was a story any author could have written with research on prison life ... but it just so happened to be written by a person who experienced it herself... making the scenes powerful and real.

Speaking of scenes... I could never imagine myself in prison, but after reading this book, Piper Kerman was able to make the reader imagine a life behind bars. It was particularly so because she, like many of us wasn't the typical inmate. She was a middle class Caucasian woman confined to a space that she was unaccustomed to and the people she met ultimately changed her world view and life. And she realized ... she wasn't all that different after all! I think that was one of the great messages of the book. Immersion into different cultures and point of views was a HUGE part of the book. The racial divides, the coming together of different cultures when need be, the community ... they were all integral to the telling of her prison life. Would Piper have met these people and be incorporated into these different cultures had she not been arrested? Nope. But she was.

All in all I think she did an epic job of describing her time in prison and her descriptions of the different people with whom she was forced into community with, was simply stellar. 

I won't lie, I love the show, but the book is even better and it is so different. I wish I could throw out huge spoilers as to the differences, but that is not the point of this post. The point is ... if you watch the show, I would encourage you to read the book. And I would bold this line ... Piper Kerman is a LOT more likeable, relatable and personable in the book ... and so was Larry - her now husband. 

So why do I like the book more? I know many people don't. It's simple. As a Lit major in college we were told about the differences in how to read autobiographies. I will say this: Piper Kerman wrote about about her life. She isnt meant to bend reality for you to like her or her life more. She is just giving an account. And that account of her life (love her or loathe her) was well bloody written! And that is what makes a great autobiography!

Defo recommend it! 
“I knew that I would have to be brave. Not foolhardy, not in love with risk and danger, not making ridiculous exhibitions of myself to prove that I wasn't terrified--really genuinely brave. Brave enough to be quiet when quiet was called for, brave enough to observe before flinging myself into something, brave enough to not abandon my true self when someone else wanted to seduce or force me in a direction I didn't want to go, brave enough to stand my ground quietly.” 

“Do you have to find the evil in yourself in order to truly recognize it in the world?” 

“Now I was a for-real, hardened con. I felt infinitely better."

“But time was a beast, a big, indolent immovable beast that wasn’t interested in my efforts at hastening it in any direction.” 
Next month's book is Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover! Posts up on March 3rd!

Link up your post for Orange is the new black! 


Add your comment

  1. i've always wondered if the book is good! will add to my list!!

  2. this is on my 15 in '15 list to read for the blog this year, I'm glad to hear it was good. I love the show!

  3. I've been on the fence about starting the show (mainly because I'm sure I'll be obsessed and do nothing but watch it all day!), so maybe I should start with the book and take it from there...glad you enjoyed it!
    xoxo B | The Sequin Notebook

  4. Great review, Kay! I read Kari's review and I see the stark differences in why you liked it and she didn't. lol You read it before watching the show and she read it after watching the show. Seeing as how I definitely have watched it, now I'm torn between constantly comparing the book to the show. Ugh! Life is so hard! lol

  5. I loved the first season, so I'll have to add this book to my TBR. So excited you're doing Ugly Love for next month!! I loved that book!

  6. She's more likable in the show? Huh! I gotta get around to reading that one of these days.

  7. I never read the book but like the show. I might have to read it now. Once I get caught up with the 20+ books I already have downloaded.

  8. I am not really into auto-biographies and I haven't seen the show. Sometimes I think I am the only one who hasn't. Great review! I always prefer to read a book first if there is an option to watch it on any kind of screen. ;)

  9. I did not want to read this, and reading Kari's review solidified that for me.. but now reading your review, i want to read it haha. just because you're a good convincer ;) i am not into autobiographies at all, and i couldn't get past 5 minutes of the show, so i'm just not sure.. i dont want to read it to dislike it!

  10. Sooo... confession. I got about 1/3 of the way done with this book and just couldn't read anymore. Maybe I should have really committed but after seeing the show I got bored :( Sorry I was a bad club member this month but I'm glad you enjoyed!

  11. I wish I read this before I watched the show. I had a hard time getting into this book. Piper came across as thinking she was better than everyone else to me :/ I sort of wanted to slap her a few times.

  12. I love the quote about being brave. So I watched the first season of the show, haven't gotten around to the second season yet, but I've been hemming and hawing over adding this to my list. I like memoirs if they're well-written, so maybe I'll give this one a shot since i loved the first season of the series so much!

  13. I still haven't seen the show. I know I am soooo late on it. Gotta read this book first thought

    And please don't forget to complete my Reader Survey.
    Kay of Pure & Complex

  14. I SO agree that Piper and Larry are 10000 x more likeable in the book! One thing I wish they would have touched on in the show was Piper realizing her role in the generations of women behind bars. I thought that was a really cool thing to talk about in the book and I don't think they really talk about it in the show

  15. I had no idea there was a book too! I haven't watched the Netflix series but it's on my list, but now I'm thinking maybe I need to read the book first!
    Gina - On the Daily Express

  16. I totally had this deja-vu moment when I was convinced I commented on this already. I'm crazy. Anyways, this is I think the first novel we didn't agree on, and it hurts my heart, but of course, it happens! We do agree on one thing though - the premise of this novel was definitely different from other novels. It's what made it a profitable book and tv show in the first place!

  17. This is such a good review, I've always kind of wanted to read this, but never enough to actually read it-- now I'm going to add it to my list. And I love the idea of book clubs, so I'm going to try and read this book for the next linkup! I'm not familiar with Colleen Hoover but I just read the synopsis and it sounds so good!

  18. I'm DYING to read this. Will have to add it to my list. I loved the Netflix series and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book. PS love your #epicjokefail.

  19. Love the new look around here, girl!
    I've been wanting to read this book. I've already watched the show though so I wonder if it would be ruined for me.


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