It’s hilarious, but is it authentic?
I joke that I should have written Orange Is The New Black.
Like Piper, I was a middle-class girl very much out of her depth in an American prison. Like Piper, drug smuggling put me there. Unlike Piper, when I was in there I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, Mabel.
For more of Carlotta’s story, read: I’m a convicted drug mule, and I stand for mercy.
So it was with some trepidation I sat down to watch the first series, especially as my then 16-year-old daughter and her friends had seen it.
It prompted a barrage of questions from her: “Was it really like that?” The answer was more often than not, “Yes, it was.”
It’s the humour in the experience that is surprisingly real. When the chips are down, the black humour people turn to carry them forward is humanity at its best.
The first thing I did when I entered the prison wing for the first time was approach a table of friendly-looking faces and break down and cry, begging them to look after me, which they did. They shared their things with me, cooked for me, made me tea and reassured me that I would get used to it, that it wasn’t so bad. It did happen to be a table of white women; prison in America is very ghettoised with the white, black and Hispanic girls keeping themselves to themselves. Not necessarily in a cruel or confrontational way, it’s just the way it is.