To Fill Up & Live | Orange Is The New Black

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Title: Orange Is The New Black

Author: Piper Kerman

Publication: 2010

It's well past midnight on the day this review is suppose to go up and I just can't write this review. I've never experienced this before, and I have no clue how to handle it. I respect the art of writing so much that I always try to support anyone endeavoring into the craft. And I hate the act of bashing a book. But, guys, I really did not like this book. I've rated it a 3 stars out of courtesy because honestly, it was probably more of a 2.5. Grr! I hate to do this. Normally, if I read a novel and really didn't like it, I'd just bypass saying anything negative about it and just won't review it. But, alas, this was the book club book of the month and so I must. 
Despite my rating, I must say that this book had two things going for it (only one really, but I'll get to that in a bit). The writing. Piper Kerman's writing is actually quite good. In terms of technical writing skill, this book gets high marks. It was well written and the author had a very clear writing voice that she employs from beginning to end. Secondly, this book made a wonderful t.v. series. I don't think that's very attributable to the author or the book itself (considering how different the show is), but then again, without the book, there would be no source matter to go off of. The show Orange Is The New Black is outstanding. It's hilarious and the characters are multifaceted and charming. The setting is jarring yet not so foreign to the viewer that we can't relate. I cannot say enough good things about this show, which I think is why I disliked the book so much. In fact, I wonder if I'd known it was a book and read it first, would I have liked it more? Perhaps, having watched it first, I ruined it for myself. It was kind of like when you read a novel and love it and then see the movie and think "the book is always better than the movie". Except well, the opposite.

I don't want to dwell too much on the negatives of this book, because like I said before, I don't like book bashing. But... I think my major issues lie with the execution and characters which combined to make the book quite boring. I really, really disliked Piper. I found her quite offensive and ignorant, and not in that endearing way. And not in that "oh, she'll grow through this experience" kind of way, because, umm she doesn't. Piper enters the prison as a spoiled, educated, priviledged woman who doesn't belong in there and leaves the same way. I didn't see change or growth. I continued reading in large part to see my favorite characters from the show, and they were pale comparisons to the vibrant women of the screen. And because we see them through Piper's narrow view, they are diminished to stereotypical characteristics. For instance, Piper refers to a transgendered character simply as "almost all woman" and another inmate as a "bulldyke", both kinda surprising coming from her character. As Holden Caulfield would say, she's a phony.

What I'm left with at the end of the book is "look at me, I was a good girl and make friends, even though I didn't think such nice things about them and that's how I made it through prison". It began with an interesting premise, but it needed more depth, more something.

So, that's all I'll say, as I don't want to spoil or bash it. But do link up below if you read along with us this month. And tell me,  if you read this book, did you like it? Any thoughts about the show?


Seeing as February is the month of lurrvveee, I'm really excited to jump into our next book: 
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover!

I've been wanting to read a Colleen Hoover novel for a while now. I'd heard such amazing things for her novels Maybe Someday and Slammed, and then I heard about Ugly Love and the movie that's coming soon and the fact that this guy would be playing the love interest, and... >>>>>>>>>>>

OMG, can you say sold? Ugly Love, our book club's first NA read, is about two characters who don't have time for love so they settle on a purely physical relationship instead. But of course, it's never as easy as that, is it? I hope you'll join us this month! We'll be reviewing the novel on March 3rd. Happy Reading!


  1. I love this review so much! I think it's your honesty. You really get me. You do. lol Oh! And Colleen Hoover is the truth and not a fable. Her novels are legit. I can't think of one that I didn't like. So glad we're reading Ugly Love for February seeing as how I've been dying to read it for a while now. And I promise not to be a jerk and not review it with you guys. lol miss you xoxo

  2. I totes adored this book. But then again, I read it before I watched a single episode. I found as autobiographies go, it was a good one and she did a good job of really transporting the reader and giving them a glimpse into prison life. Was the drama as much as the show? Nope but it wasnt meant to be that way, it was meant to be a real life account and she did a great job of sharing that account I think which is probably why it was good enough to make such an epic show (love the show too hehe). Great review though I love your honesty! Not every book will be liked by everyone.

  3. Thanks for the honest review. I feel the same way about reviewing books I didn't like. I just don't since book bashing isn't for me either. I really wasn't interested in this one. It just wasn't my style. I never watched the show either. I decided to skip it and I am glad I did now. :)

  4. i am SO glad you didn't like it! haha. i think i read like one page and gave up, though honestly i barely got through 5 minutes of the tv show.. so i guess just not my cup of tea.
    what does NA stand for? I'm so out of the book loop. This book sounds interesting though.. count me in ;)

  5. I agree with everything you said in this post about OITNB (the book). I haven't seen the TV show (although, I do want to see it). Based on what I've read about the TV show, I wanted to read the book assuming I'd really enjoy it. I didn't.

    I could write at length about what disappointed me, but I don't want to ruin it for any other readers, and I don't like to book bash either. Having worked at a juvenile justice center in Texas and seen firsthand incarcerated youth, I already have some strong opinions and interest in criminal justice and rehabilitation. Maybe those views tainted my reading.

    All that being said, I could see how "characters" could be exaggerated to make for good television, and I'd still probably watch the show.


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