This month, we're tackling the book behind the buzz. Before there was the TV show, there was Orange the New Black, Piper Kerman's memoir about her year in prison in 2004. Not only does this help us draw comparisons between the Netflix series and Kerman's real life account, but also raises some questions about the U.S. criminal justice system.
1. Give the book a grade, A-F.
2. What was one thing you learned from the book that you didn't previously realize about prison?
3. Did you find Kerman's writing style preachy or inspiring?
4. After reading this book, what is the one change you'd like to see in the prison system?
5. Do you feel more sympathetic to convicted felons than you did before reading the book?
6. More people are locked up in the U.S. than any other country. Why is this?
7. Did Kerman's punishment fit her crime? How about the other inmates?
8. How did her socio-economic status, race, and gender affect her time in prison? Her story? Does it make her story more or less credible?
9. Should prisons be privately-owned or run by the government?
10. Does the Netflix series do the book justice? In what ways is it better or worse than the book?
11. How would you adapt to prison life?