So I had this book, and it was sitting on my nightstand, and then the "Orange Is The New Black" TV show came out and it was fantastic and everyone was raving about it, so I figured the book had to be good, right? I mean, books are always better than their movie counterparts, so I figured the same had to be true about TV shows.
Except that it wasn't. All the things I loved about the TV show — the drama, the fights, the unlikely friendships and relationships, the wit — none of them were in the book. Book Piper did her time and kept it pretty drama-free. There was no time spent in solitary confinement. No one hated her or wanted to get revenge on her. No one tried to hook up with her or kill her. There was nothing particularly exciting or terrible about it. For all the "hardships" she had to endure, she basically had a pretty cushy life for prison; people constantly sent her mail and books, she had more than enough commissary money for anything she could ever want to buy, she requested a job change so she could work outside by a pretty lake. It was kind of annoying to listen to her complain about it and then admit that she had it much better than most of the other inmates.
But I think my biggest problem with the book was that Kerman was just not a very descriptive writer. I got a lot of the characters mixed up because there weren't enough details or information about any of them to distinguish them from one another, whether they were guards, inmates, counselors or other authority figures. (It didn't help that all of the characters in the book had different names than they did in the TV show, and some of the characters in the show didn't exist in the book. I was all kinds of confused as to who was who the whole time.) Even exciting occurrences — for example, the screwdriver incident from the show — were downplayed and details scarce. I felt no passion from Book Piper about her experience or her desire to make changes for the better, despite knowing that she actually does, in real life, work to improve the prison system. I felt like this book could have been just amazing, but that justice had not been served.
I'd say, if you're going to read the book, do so before you watch the show. Because otherwise it's just disappointing. I'm giving it a C.
Are you watching "Orange Is The New Black"?
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