Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman
Reading Challenge Category: A book with a colour in the title
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.
I absolutely love the TV series, so I have been a bit reluctant to read this as I’m not a big fan of reading a book after watching either the series or movie. However, I needed a book to fill my ‘a book with a colour in the title’ reading challenge category and this fit that bill perfectly, so I decided to give it a try. I requested the Kindle sample to begin with just to make sure I enjoyed the writing style but as soon as I finished the sample I swiftly bought the book and carried on reading as I was gripped right from the beginning. Even though the TV series is BASED on this, that is all it is. If you expect to know all the characters, you are going to be disappointed. They all have different names, and even when names you may recognise are mentioned, this doesn’t mean they will have the same personality and characteristics as those from the show. I could identify a few, Pop being the most like Red and Yoga Janet like Yoga Jones. However, Crazy Eyes is completely different as is Pennsatucky. This made it feel as if you were reading a completely different story to that of Piper Chapman from the series. It was great to be able to differentiate between the two and made the book more enjoyable. You were still able to visualise certain scenarios and scenes, however. I’m not sure if reading this while our country is in lockdown was the best idea. We are all locked up in our houses with restricted freedom but reading this really made me appreciate all that I do have in comparison to really being locked up in prison. I still have all my home comforts, my TV programmes, my favourite food and of course my husband and cats. All of these things would be absent in prison, so I really have nothing to complain about. Reading it made me feel quite claustrophobic; however, having all your rights removed and being at the mercy of the CO’s whims is something I can’t even begin to fathom. Even though Piper Kerman’s experience didn’t sound that horrendous compared to how we all think prison could be; it was still a cautionary tale about not breaking the law. I thought the book was excellently written, it evoked all the emotions that she must have been feeling and I’m delighted I read it to experience the real Piper’s story.