Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Chapter 1

By Piper Kerman

Chapter 1

Are You Gonna Go My Way?

  • Piper is in the International baggage claim of Brussels airports waiting to claim her luggage (and her sprouts).
  • It's 1993, she is twenty-four, and she's nervous that someone is going to catch her smuggling ten grand of undeclared drug money into the country. For the record, that is what we'd call a legit concern.
  • Her bag doesn't arrive with her flight, but it does arrive, and she hightails it out of there.
  • Flashback to graduation: Smith College, 1992.
  • Piper is now bored with life and needs some adventure. What better than a lesbian drug dealer named Nora Jansen who looks less like Laura Prepon and more like "a white Eartha Kitt" (1.14) with a voice to match.
  • Nora and Piper date a bit, but Piper decides to move to San Francisco.
  • Before she can make a beeline for the Golden Gate Bridge, Nora asks her if she wants to go to Indonesia. Um, yes. Yes she does.
  • Piper almost gets stuck in Paris (Nora forgot to book her a ticket to Bali) but eventually makes it, where she hangs out with Nora and her drug buddies, jumping off waterfalls (at least they're not chasing them). 
  • Piper becomes one of those drug buddies, too, helping retrieve money wires when cash runs low.
  • Finally, we're back to where we started: the Brussels airport. Piper realizes that she's only an asset to Nora as a money runner and drug mule, so she leaves her and moves to California, putting her "criminal life" (1.65) behind her.