Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review Tuesday

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Welcome to Book Review Tuesday! I have decided to start a new weekly book review on Tuesdays. I love reading great new books and I am always open to suggestions! I just finished Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
From Publishers Weekly
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 fiancĂ©, 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. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My Review
I love, love, love stories about people and their experiences and I wanted to love this book and author.  For me, women and prison, what is there not to love! No silly romance to skim through and real life people living in close quarters.  It is like your favorite reality show in jail.

Piper cleans up her life, starts living a fairly average existence and the Feds knock on her door years after she committed the crime. The set-up sounds absolutely captivating. I couldn't wait to start reading this book but I slowly started disliking the author. She was a wealthy college graduate that, in essence, was bored and looking for an adventure. She couldn't have channeled that energy into doing some charity work in a different country or something more productive than drug smuggling?

She is given special treatment because she is white with blond hair including great roommates, coveted prison jobs and phone privileges. She is quick to point out that everyone told her that she didn't belong in prison throughout her sentencing and jail term. I was unaware that being blond meant you shouldn't go to jail for a felony.  The topper on all that hypocrisy is that she wrote a decent book and is going to make money from the experience!

The book does its job and keeps you interested to the last page even if you are waiting for her to get shanked.  So, this is a great read but borrow it from me or the library!

3.5 out of 5 stars