What I Read: Orange is The New Black by Piper Kerman
I had mentally added this to my must read list a few years ago and for whatever reason, just completely forgot about it until amazon suggested it to me [thanks amazon!] It is a memoir detailing the year that the author spent in a women’s prison.
We all know how much I enjoy memoirs, especially when they focus on terrible topics [horrible childhoods, abuse, poverty, etc], but one of the things I really loved about this book was how matter of fact Kerman was about everything. Instead of being woe is me the entire time she chose to accept that she had done something wrong and found a way to make the best of her time in prison. She runs outside, gets pedicures, learns to make cheesecake in a microwave, gets a job and cleans her cell with maxi pads.
The other aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was how it was part memoir, part critique of our penal system. Kerman, who was sent to jail for a drug related crime [committed 10 years prior to her actual incarceration], talks about her issues with the amount of people being locked up for drug related crimes and how poorly prisons prepare inmates for life outside thus, all but guaranteeing the rate of recidivism remains high.
My one issue with the book was that it ends the moment she is released from jail. I had expected that there would be a chapter or at least an epilogue that dealt with how she adjusted to life after prison. Perhaps she is saving it for a sequel?
Regardless, I really enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.