Reviews & Praise


“Ten years after a fleeting post-Smith College flirtation with drug trafficking, Piper Kerman was arrested–a P.O.W. in the war on drugs. In Orange Is the New Black (Spiegel & Grau), Kerman presents–devoid of self-pity, and with novelistic flair–life in the clink as less Caged Heat and more Steel Magnolias.
—Elissa Schappell, VANITY FAIR, May 2010

“Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black (Spiegel & Grau), reads like an estrogen-drenched version of Dostoevsky’s The House of the Dead, as our gentlewoman protagonist becomes exalted by her exposure to the beautiful souls of trannie divas, Latina grandmothers, a West Indian roommate, even a few politicals—radical pacifists and nuns who managed against all odds to run afoul of the U.S. penal code (along with, of course, a good few of the truly damned). It’s a fantastic tale from the Siberia of America’s war on drugs and is a rippingly fun read right down to the unexpected moment of closure that arrives before Kerman goes home to Larry for good.”
—BEN DICKENSON, ELLE, May 2010 (read the review)

“Impossible to put down…”
—Diana Wagman
Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2010 (read the review)

Orange transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you. You’d expect bad behavior in prison. But it’s the moments of joy, friendship and kindness that the author experienced that make Orange so moving and lovely.”
—Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY, April 21, 2010 (read the review)


“I loved this book, to a depth and degree that caught me by surprise. Of course it’s a compelling insider’s account of life in a women’s federal prison, and of course it’s a behind-the-scenes look at America’s war on drugs, and of course it’s a story rich with humor, pathos and redemption: All of that was to be expected. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. That was the surprising twist: that behind the bars of women’s prisons grow extraordinary friendships, ad hoc families, and delicate communities. In the end, this book is not just a tale of prisons, drugs, crime, or justice; it is, simply put, a beautifully told story about how incredible women can be, and I will never forget it.”
—ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“Don’t let the irreverent title mislead: This is a serious and bighearted book that depicts life in a women’s prison with great detail and—crucially—with empathy and respect for Piper Kerman’s fellow prisoners, most of whom did not and do not have her advantages and options. With its expert reporting and humane, clear-eyed storytelling, Orange Is the New Black will join Ted Conover’s Newjack among the necessary contemporary books about the American prison experience.”
—DAVE EGGERS, author of Zeitoun and co-author of Surviving Justice: America’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated

“I can’t stop thinking about this marvelous book, about the generous and lovely women with whom Piper Kerman served her time. I never expected to pick up a memoir about prison and find myself immersed in a story of grace, of friendship, of loyalty and love. I have never read anything like this book, and I will read and reread it again and again.”
—AYELET WALDMAN, author of Bad Mother and Daughter’s Keeper