Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I like orange.

Just not prison orange.
This was a fascinating true story.
I think because some tiny part of me has always wanted to know just how it would be to walk in the shoes of someone behind bars, I was compelled to get myself to the end of the book.
I also love to sit and listen to a good story, and Piper Kerman weaves a tale that takes you on an almost unbelievable ride where the younger, more reckless version of Piper becomes involved in a very lucrative drug trafficking ring just for the post Smith College adventure.
 She quickly sees the error of her ways and puts her life on a more conservative (law-abiding) path, meets a nice guy, falls in love, has a great career in New York City, when, ten years post crime, the law catches up with her and she has to leave her good life and do time for her bad choices.
The take-away that I really appreciated was her journey to a realization that our actions do not affect just ourselves.  Piper, like many, believed that she, alone in the world, was self-reliant, self-protective, able to be completely responsible or able of complete divorcement.  This led her to believe that her single actions did not matter much.  She traversed the world in her own little bubble, occasionally engaging with others, but largely alone.  
She says "What I discovered was that I am emphatically not alone.  The people on the outside (of prison) who wrote and visited every week and traveled long distances to come and tell me that I wasn't forgotten, that I wasn't alone, had a tremendous impact on my life.
However, most of all, I realized that I was not alone in the world because of the women I lived with for over a year, who gave me a dawning recognition of what I shared with them.  We shared over-crowded Dorms and lack of privacy.  We shared eight numbers instead of names, prison khakis, cheap food and hygiene items.  Most important, we shared a deep reserve of humor, creativity in adverse circumstances and the will to protect and maintain our own humanity despite the prison system's imperative to crush it.  I don't think any of us could have managed those survival techniques alone; I know I couldn't--we needed each other."
That's the bond I share with Kerman.
I firmly believe and rely on the fact that we need each other.


ellen said...

I couldn't put that book down (and that's saying something)! It's an all-time fave.

April said...

I'll have to put that one on my list!!

Jo Jo said...

You do such a great job describing these so I want to read them all! Too many books so little time.