Orange is the New Black: Book Club Week 1

Book Club: Orange is the New Black – Week 1

Hosted by The Book Wheel and Love at First Book

Orange is the New Black

Welcome to Week 1: Today – Nov 9

Read and discuss Ch 1-4

I don’t know about you, but I am DYING to get into Orange is the New Black!  I loved the show and am so excited for this read!  Woo hoo!

If you’re here, you have read the first part, or are currently reading it!

Please go ahead and start (or continue) the conversation!  Remember to come back to continue to respond to others who comment throughout the week (and month)!  Write as much or as little as you please, and don’t forget to link your own blog if you have one!

Only post about Chapters 1-4, please!  Spoilers totally allowed for those chapters, but no spoilers for the remainder of the book, please!  Save those for the later posts.

Haven’t finished this week’s reading yet?  Come back when you’re done and join in the conversation!

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca and Allison


27 thoughts on “Orange is the New Black: Book Club Week 1

  1. Oh my gosh this book is GOOD! But it’s sooo different from the show! It works though, at least so far. The show had a lot of drama, but a show is a SHOW! It has to be more drama.

    I think that’s how I’m connecting so far: the differences between the book and the show. It will be interesting to read the thoughts of the non-show-watchers and see what they think. Also, since they only have a first season of the show, I’m intrigued about what happens AFTER season 1, which the book will tell me of course.

    On to the story itself. . . it’s so frustrating that Piper had to wait for YEARS after sentencing before going to jail! I don’t know how she stayed sane!

    And look at all the books she received! I wonder how she had room to put all of her things away, like her books. It doesn’t seem like prison would provide you with a bunch of storage space.

    I also had no idea that there are only a few women’s minimum security prisons. Like she mentioned it was possible Martha would be at her prison!

    What do you guys think so far?


    • I’m reading now and have not seen the show so have no point of comparison, which might be a good thing. I’m really liking the book though and I love how books are a unifier. It’s also incredible how nice the women are too her. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Lockup but I was expecting something different 🙂


    • I’ve been reading it mostly as a book to television show comparison too. It was interesting to read some of the scenes that seemed to be exactly the same (her drive to the prison, her meeting with her counselor) while others are so different. So far, there’s a lot less violence than there was in the show, which I’m not sure what to think of (since I thought the violence in the show seemed pretty realistic).

      I also think Book Piper is a lot more sympathetic than TV Piper (and much more willing to admit her flaws). I suppose that’s partly because she had so much time between the charges and sentencing — I can’t even imagine that! That would be so frustrating. I had no idea the legal system could do that sort of maneuvering.


      • There also seems to be a whole lot less sex in the book than in the show! And yeah, it is interesting how some of the show and book line up almost verbatim, and others are very different.

        The book Piper is more down-to-Earth. Sometimes the show Piper was a little pretentious, and her mom wasn’t very loving either. But in the book, it seems like she has a very supportive background.

        And yeah. . . . I just can’t believe waiting for years to go to jail! That’s just so incredibly stressful!


    • I think the fact that people sent her books is awesome (note to self- if any one my friends get sent to jail they are so getting copies of Crime and Punishment) and I do think it’s a bit ridiculous that she had to wait so long for her sentencing, but I still don’t really like her. She didn’t just make one mistake; it wasn’t as if she broke the law once. She knew that what she was doing was wrong, but because she was bored she did it anyway. I just can sympathize (or relate). I do definitely appreciate her candor, though.


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  3. I couldn’t believe how long it took for her to actually go to prison, it would drive me batty as well waiting and worrying those 10 years! Of course, I would probably make the situation worse in my head than what actually would happen.

    What I didn’t get was about the crime in itself. Why on earth would Piper agree to it? I wasn’t so convinced from the story of the mesmerizing impact Nora had on her. I guess it was infatuation that just made her make a bad decision.

    I have not seen the series so it’s probably a good thing that the show hasn’t clouded my opinion of the book. Typically I don’t read books I have seen already because then I can’t read the book without picturing the characters as they are in the movie. I enjoy imagining the story play out for myself when I read it. I have to read it first and then watch it. We were flipping through celebrity Halloween photos and I saw Julianne Hough was dressed as Crazy Eyes, I guess that’s a character in the show because I don’t remember her in the book, unless she’s called something different.

    Anyway, thanks for introducing me to this one, I’d heard the hype about the show but really enjoyed the book!


    • I think that a big reason why Piper did what she did was part infatuation and part wanting to be “daring” and live an exciting life. Have you ever seen the show Locked Up Abroad on NatGeo? It’s a documentary-styled show with true stories of people who have smuggled drugs and get locked in in abroad prisons. Most of the stories are the same: I was partying in X country and wanted to stay longer, someone offered me $10,000 in exchange for carrying drugs to XYZ country.”

      I can’t relate to it, but I guess it’s something that people do when they want adventure!


  4. I heard about this book a few weeks ago and wanted to read it and was thrilled to see that it was chosen by Love at First Book. I have not seen the show on Netflix and probably won’t until I finish the book. My schedule is on overload and don’t have much time to read, so I downloaded it on Audible and listening to it every chance I get.

    It’s wonderful that the main character, Piper, has such a support system. I’m sure it makes it easier to be in prison knowing that the people she knows and loves support her fully. Having your family, fiance, and friends on your side is so important when you’re in a crisis. Even the years of waiting to serve her sentence must have been excruciating.

    My understanding of being in a federal system and other penal systems is like night and day. Her treatment from other prisoners and staff doesn’t sound as harsh as it could have been if she was in a county jail.

    It was also pretty brave of her to not run away and turn herself in. I’d be so scared, but I guess she was able to find the courage to do the right thing. I admire her for that.


    • I was thinking of that, too! That I was kind of surprised she just didn’t go to Mexico or something, but she seemed really into just being honest and taking the consequence so she could move on with her life. I think I’d think about moving away to another country, but if I had committed a crime, I don’t think I’d want that held over my shoulder for the rest of my life.


  5. I so want to read this book! It was hard not to read everyones comments above so I wouldn’t spoil the story for myself. I figure even if I’m behind your readers I’ll only read the comments up to the chapters I’ve read.


  6. I just got the book yesterday so I’m just now getting caught up but I’m pretty much with the rest of you. I’ve only seen a few episodes and the book is definitely different, although I still picture the people from the show as I read 🙂 I can’t believe that she had to wait so long, and the policy girl in me is just so mad about that and have come up with a hundred ways to change that, systematically speaking. I don’t know how she managed to get through the time knowing that she had to go to jail. It’s like knowing you are going to die soon and not knowing quite when. The psychological turmoil would be excruciating. I’m half tempted to watch some more of the show just so that I can compare the two but I’ll probably wait until I finish the book.


  7. I haven’t seen the show yet but I’ll definitely watch it after reading the book. I’m really enjoying it so far! I think the fact that she seems like such a normal, average person by the time she’s caught makes this a far more relatable story. It also makes reading about it feel to me like reading about a nightmare, it seems so disconnected from her daily life at the time.

    I completely agree with everyone about how terrible her wait to start her prison sentence must have been. It makes me think in addition to our right to a speedy trial we need a right to speedy serving of jail time. Just imagine if she’d been wanting to have kids! You couldn’t have kids while waiting to go to jail. And taking jobs and everything else… How awful.


    • She’s actually a whole lot more lovable in the story than in the show, in my opinion. So it’s good to do it this way, the “right” way (read before you watch, which is a rule I NORMALLY follow). But there are sooooo many differences, too, that it feels like I’m almost reading a side story.

      But yeah, that wait time for jail. . . . ugh!!!! I wonder if it’s something that could have been sped up at all or if it was stuck and couldn’t be moved? Like did Piper fight to get her sentence moved up quickly? Can that be done? I don’t know.


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  9. I’m waiting to watch the show until I’ve finished the book. That would be too much of a spoiler for me and I’d never finish the book.

    My thought was the same as Katie’s above, what if she wanted kids?! That is a crazy amount of time to wait for your fate, only to have the whole reason you were waiting not even happen.

    Now that she’s actually in prison, I’m surprised how nice everyone is to her. I was expecting over 50% of the people in to be conniving and offensive (Bad stereotype I guess?… thank you TV).


    • I didn’t even think about Piper’s wait effecting having kids. . . and buying a home. . . and just being a productive member of society. She was so brave to take her punishment, but it was like another punishment being forced to wait so long to go to jail! Terrible!

      I actually am super surprised how nice everyone is, too. TV does make you think that people are not as nice in jail, and that people get taken advantage of. I wonder if part of that is because we watch a lot of men in jail and few women (on TV). I know that women enjoy camaraderie (and also gossip) but it did surprise me how many women gave Piper things before she could purchase from the commissary!


  10. First of all, thank you for hosting!

    I tried to go into the memoir without my preconceived notions after watching the show- after the first season I found Piper to be an insufferable, unsympathetic character. And after the first 71 pages I still don’t feel bad for her, nor do I necessarily like her (both fine; I’m not from the camp that requires characters or people to identify with when I read). There are plenty of other “lost” college grads that crave adventure and acceptance without breaking the law (repeatedly). To be honest, I find her a bit pathetic. But what I do appreciate is that she really isn’t trying to solicit sympathy; this isn’t a sob story that laden with a sense of pathos. She’s direct, matter-of-fact, and detailed.

    Despite not commiserating with Piper, I have intrigued by the story and am looking forward to reading the rest.


    • You’re actually very right. Because while I’m not loving Piper in the book, I like her a lot more than in the show. In the show she was wishy washy. Sometimes I liked her, sometimes I wanted to shake her. But in the book, she’s direct. She made a mistake and is dealing with the consequence, but not with much of a “poor me” attitude.

      Even when she talked about how long she had to wait until she went to jail it didn’t seem like she was asking for pity, more just sharing her story.


  11. I just finished ready the first 4 chapters. I have not watched the TV series yet. I’ll hold off until I finish the book.

    As a parent, I had worried that my kids might make a bad decision or be in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone else was making a bad decision.

    Even though Piper knew what she was doing was wrong, youth tends to think they are invincible and nothing bad will happen. She must have thought she dodge a bullet by getting out of the drug business without anything bad happening to her. What a shock to have it surface later. And then the wait…

    She was fortunate to have so much support from family and friends. Even though the wait must have been excruciating, it gave her time to continue living a good life and likely helped reduce her time from 30 months to 15 months.

    I am touched by how kind the other women were to her. The compassion is remarkable and heartwarming. I too wonder where she was able to keep so many books. And I wonder if she ever got to sleep under the covers.


    • Haha, I doubt she ever slept under the covers! I wonder if that was because it was easier to make the bed each morning that way. . .

      Luckily, I never did anything criminal (besides maybe a little bit of trespassing and underage drinking) and as far as I know Deb’s the same. But I’m sure we’ve been in lots of situations where actual criminal activity was taking place, mainly with drugs. Although neither of us broke the law in any sense that would end us up in jail!

      Although I have to blame my jail/prison obsession on my dad. When he worked at the police department when I was younger, we got to go on a tour of the local jail that was falling apart and no longer used. I think that’s where my fascination stemmed from.


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