March 31, 2014

AKA Bookshelf: Orange is the New Black

A few months back I was given Orange Is the New Black the book, as a gift. I was reading something else at the time so it sat on my shelf. Then more recently I had a particularly strong case of insomnia/ Netflix bingeing and I rewatched the entire first season of Orange. When the show was over my appetite was not.

I'm greatly anticipating the second season but that will not be here til June! So I did the next best thing and read the book.

Both the show and the book follow Piper, a young, pretty, white woman as she goes through the ups and downs of her year in a womens prison. She is quite out of place in her new environment but stumbles her way through to make friends and figure out how to survive while in prison.  While the book is a true story/memoir of Pipers experience, the show deviates greatly from reality.

I am sad to report that for the first time ever in my life the movie or in this case the show is better than the book. The book is just underwhelming in my opinion. I'm in no way saying the book is badly written, it is just not my style. It was hard for me to relate to Piper Kerman and to view her as a likable character.

In all honesty I do not watch the show for Piper so maybe I should have known the book wasn't going to completely grab me as it is Piper's memoir. I feel as if Piper attempts to be relateable and to acknowledge her privilege but there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way about the book. Yes she experienced prison and went through hardship but her experience is so greatly different than so many of the other women. I felt like the book became so notable and popular because she was a pretty upper middle class white woman going through the system, rather than it being an amazing story or an amazing book. While that is not her fault I feel as if it is unfair that this story is so prized over others, but I guess a nice white girl getting put away is more of a story than that of other women.

The show is at best loosely adapted from the book. Maybe it was unfair to watch the show and then dive into the book, for the book is lacking in the drama and the drive that makes the show so interesting and entertaining. It was however entertaining to match characters and situations from Pipers real life to that of the show, and  how some of the great moments in the show were from real people with real names and emotions.

Again it wasn't a bad book I just didn't have a connection to the writing or to Piper. It was interesting and a quick read but my love is for the show and the amazing cast of characters it has put together. I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the book and show!

And be sure to check out a little teaser trailer for the second season of Orange due out on Netflix June 6th by clicking here.


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