“Prison is quite literally a ghetto in the most classic sense of the world, a place where the U.S. government now puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient—people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled.”
~ Piper Kerman
I adore the Netflix sensation 'Orange is the New Black' (if you don't know what I'm talking about you've literally been living under a very large rock for the last year!) and after speeding through the entire 13 episodes of season 2 within 72 hours of them going live, I was jonesing for more of my favourite female prisoners. So I decided to read the memoir the series was based on.
I don't read a lot of memoirs and autobiographies. I can't usually get myself to care enough about the person to stick with their story for too long. But Piper Kerman's voice drew me in just as much as Taylor Schillings comedic portrayal did with the show and while there were some obvious major differences to the tv adaptation, I was far from disappointed.
'Orange is the New Black' was funny, heartfelt and gut-wrenchingly honest. And I learnt a lot through reading it and I don't just mean how to make Prison Cheesecake. I learnt about the failings of the US prison system, the way the prisons do very little to help the women they are supposedly rehabilitating. But most importantly, I learnt that despite the mistakes these women made, they have hopes and dreams just like the rest of us.
Piper's determination to make the best of her situation, to use her time in prison to better herself, to learn new skills and help others really spoke to me. This woman is an inspiration and I hope that if I ever found myself deep within the prison system (I'm not planning on it happening but you never know what the future holds!) I'd have the strength to handle it with the "Prison Zen" that she did.
If you too are missing Piper, Alex, Red, Crazy Eyes and the rest of the girls then give the book a go. I promise you'll enjoy it. Although if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself wanting to binge watch the entire 26 episodes in a Netflix marathon!