Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
Orange is the New Black grabbed my attention simply because I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in prison, with everything you do dictated by some higher power, living up-close-and-personal with a bunch of strangers, not knowing who your friends are, and only seeing your family and friends when someone else says it's OK. Scary thoughts, right?
The thing that I found most intriguing with Piper's story is the fact that she had several years between being sentenced and actually going to jail. What must it feel like to have the spectre of prison time hanging over your head for so long? I wish there had been some more focus on this aspect of her story - although she does explain how people reacted, I wanted to know more about how it affected her day to day life. But perhaps, with several years intermission, she just got on with things as much as possible.
With a large cast of characters, I did sometimes find myself a little confused as to who was who, and what their relationship to Piper was - although I understand that some of them were very private and didn't share their lives with Piper, so it would have been difficult to write about them in a way that made different people easily identifiable.
Easily the most disturbing part of her story came towards the end, when she was moved to Chicago to be a witness in another case - her trip on Con Air, and her stay in Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Centre really highlighted the terrible faults in the prison system, although Danbury was certainly no picnic.
Unfortunately I didn't find Piper easy to connect or empathise with, which was both a negative and a positive. A negative in that I couldn't put myself in her shoes, but a positive in that I could see the bigger picture of what was happening around her, without being caught up in emotion.
I did expect Orange is the New Black to be a little tougher, and a little grittier, but it was the stories of friendship, co-operation and unity between the majority of the prisoners that really made this book for me.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie