To Read or To Watch: Orange is the New Black

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Orange is the New Black is a popular Netflix show, which just came out recently. What’s fantastic about Netflix is that they release a whole season at once, and it makes for guilty pleasure watching.

This show is about Piper Chapman, who had committed a crime 10 years ago. The statute of limitation is 12 years, and she got busted 2 years before it was up. Terrible timing, because she ended up having to serve time in a women’s prison. What’s funny is that when she was in her 20’s, she was a wild child, with a girlfriend, Alex (Actress: Laura Prepon, Donna from That 70’s Show). Fast forward 10 years later, she cleaned up her act, had a great job, and dating a nice, clean, Jewish man, Larry (Jason Biggs, American Pie).

In the show, and the book (an autobiography by Piper Kerman) explores her life in prison, where she had to experience many firsts, like squatting and coughing with her bum cheeks spread out, so she isn’t smuggling any contraband into the prison. The women in the prison are extremely spirited and positive, despite some of the hardship they had been through to end up in the prison. A lot of drama happens when you put so many women together too, so prepare yourself for some very light, hilarious moments. There are moments of darkness too, when you see prison guards abusing power, and taking advantage of helpless women, that made me sad, because I know that happens in real life.

I do feel that the show was embellished to get some laughs and viewership, but they did honour some of the stories accurately in the book as well. I have a few favourite characters in the show that turned out to be quite different from the book, and they were also more interesting than Piper herself.

Have a read or watch. Orange is the New Black is a Netflix exclusive, and the book is sold everywhere. Let me know what you think.


Ace is a freelance graphic designer who was born in Toronto, grew up in Hong Kong, and lived in Ottawa and Vancouver. She is attracted and addicted to adventures like rock climbing, scuba-diving and anything culturally and visually interesting. Ace is still looking for the perfect cup of coffee in the city to satiate her.

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