Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Orange is the New Black

I picked up Piper Kerman's book on Friday and finished it on Sunday. I was curious about her story of being in a prison in the US for a year.

When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she’d been when, shortly after graduating Smith College, she’d committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her.Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.

Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at an infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.

What I found so interesting about her experience was the community of women that formed to support her and each other through this long and painful process. I had always assumed that prison was a violent place where you would feel very much alone. In fact Kerman creates deep bonds of friendship with "ad hoc families" of prisoners. With the Grand Valley Institute for Women in Kitchener it made me reconsider my assumptions about what goes on inside its walls.
- Bronwyn

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