There's lots of buzz about this series on Netflix. I watched the first episode and thought this might be a fun trashy book. WRONG. This memoir is not really fun and not Trashy. It's a heartfelt memoir of Piper, a Smith graduate who rather than do an unpaid internship, got involved with an older woman who was a successful drug runner.
10 years later Piper is working and engaged to a wonderful, supportive guy with a wonderful supportive family. She has left the drug business and her lover, Nora. Piper 's wild youth has caught up with her and she is indicted, convicted and incarcerated.
Piper accepts responsibility for her transgressions and enters the minimum security prison in Connecticut. After her 15 month stint her fiancé is waiting for this much humbled woman with a better body and stronger sense of self. She has benefited from the track, carpentry detail and yoga lessons(lessons taught by an inmate).
Piper tells the story of the poor, uneducated, caring and wise "campers" who help her and support her throughout her sentence. There is a ""welcoming committee " which provide her with toiletries and word of strength and experience. Her many colored friends cut her hair, give her pedicures and she massages their feet. There are some white, educated middle class convicts as well, but Piper doesn't hang out with them much nor does she write about them much.
The memoir stresses how much Piper grows through this experience. She does miss her own designer clothes, vegetables , her own space and her fiancé and friends. She learns respect for rules and for personal space. She learns to appreciate shampoo, conditioner mayonnaise, and broccoli florets. She also learns to cook in a microwave with pilfered food and share her gastronomic successes with her new friends, her new family.
Her experiences seem more valuable than many unpaid internships. For Piper there are few obstacles.
She did not like all of the guards, and some were sadistic, but that part was glossed over quickly. The villainizes the government for mandatory sentences and poor rehab programs, but doesn't even do that with much vitriol . I'm happy that not only did Piper repent but also learned that drugs for many are not just a phase, but can rip apart people and families. That being said, I was a little bored and her memories are a little preachy. Her year in Fed Pen provided her with a large audience created by the smart marketing of Netflix. Since my subscription is paid, I'll probably watch # 2 , if I want to take a nap.