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Orange is the new Black

I recently read the memoir Orange is the new Black by Piper Kerman. Piper Kerman is an American woman who was indicted of money-laundering in 1998. After pleading guilty she was sentenced 15 months to a minimum security prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Many are familiar with the show, but most are unaware of the book. I stumbled upon this book as I was browsing the aisles at the library. After watching the first episode of the extremely popular Netflix original, my interest was peaked, and as my eyes glanced upon the book, I knew I needed to read it. But I was surprised at what I found. There is a plethora of differences.

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The book opens up in a similar fashion as the show, it introduces the main character, Piper,  and announces what she is going through (heading to prison). Remaining true to the facts the show illustrates the relationship between Piper and her fiance Larry, and also the check-in process at the prison. But almost as quickly as I picked up similarities, the differences became apparent. The first overall difference is the juxtaposition in morals. In the memoir the moral or purpose for writing hoped to examine and explain what prison is really like as well as to exhibit issues that lie within the system.

As for the TV show, the purpose is unclear to me. The show is purely Hollywood. Filled with raunchy and sexual scenes, examining the stereotypes of prison; the idea of being in a new world, one filled with hardened lesbian criminals, constantly looking for a new victim to prey on. Every episode the writers discuss or reveal the life and stories of an inmate.

In the book, the descriptions are vague. This comparison is truly one for the books, on one hand you have a heartfelt memoir revealing the flaws in the prison system, from a first-hand experience. On the other hand, you have a Hollywood-driven show filled with thrills, sex, scandal, and violence. I recommend the book for anyone who cares about corrupt systems in our government and what to be knowledgeable or even want to help change them. As for the show, it would be my recommendation for pretty much anyone to watch.  Who wouldn’t want to lounge around watching a popular TV show?  It requires no thought; only a couch, a device, and a subscription to Netflix.

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