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Dystopia [Kindle Edition]

Ed Griffin , Mike Oulton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

Dystopia is a society of human misery, squalor, disease, terror and overcrowding. It is the opposite of Utopia.

This is a book about going to prison. Mike Oulton went to prison for trying to smuggle fifteen kilos of cocaine into the United States. Ed Griffin went to prison to cause a revolution. He wanted men to write their stories and when the public discovered the horror of prison, the walls would come tumbling down.

Mike counts the years and the days until he can get back on the street; Ed numbers the converts to his revolution. One day they meet in a classroom and neither is the same again.

Editorial Reviews


If you've ever wondered how you can make a difference in this world, Dystopia is definitely a must read. Barcos

"Dystopia" is a very thought provoking book about prison life, friendship, self-worth and so much more.  Wilson

From the Author

Our original idea was to write a book called ``Inside Out`` I, the outsider, didn`t have much good to say about prison, while Mike, the insider, felt that some guys benefited from prison. We both had our sections written when he came up for parole. He was in minimum at the time, where, as in all prisons, cell phones were banned. The authorities associate cell phones with the drug trade and they also want to keep people using the regular phones where they get a generous cut.
Mike`s roommate had a cell phone and put it in an old sock of his and hid it on MIKE`S side of the room.
The guards found it on a search. They asked Mike, `Whose cell phone is this. Mike said it`s not even my sock.
Despite the fact that everyone at the parole hearing knew the cell phone wasn`t Mike`s, he was denied parole and was forced to spend another year and a half in prison, at a cost to taxpayers of $50,000 dollars.
Mike revised his opinion of prison and felt it was truly DYSTOPIA. He re-wrote his entire section.

Product Details

  • File Size: 978 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Cordillera North Publications (January 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LE97E0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ed and Mike June 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Dystopia was like reading the journals of two men. One seemed, at the beginning, to think prison might actually help reform, while the other who did not, entered as a volunteer teacher intent upon tearing down the walls. It's a first hand account of not only the big picture of a system that is broken and needs repair, but believable personal snapshots of little pieces that make it so.
Dystopia is a believable, very human account of how each man changed, one on the inside, one on the out.
If you've ever wondered how you can make a difference in this world, Dystopia is definitely a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Problems November 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book has everything: sexism, racism, ableism and plenty of typos and misspellings.

The writing is actually really good; Mike Oulton is a great storyteller, but he has no idea about how privileged he is and the way he writes about Mexicans (racist), women (sexist) and the disabled (ableist) is making me cringe. It's really bad. I want to keep reading because the writing really carries me along which I love in a novel, but these issues with oppressive language are making it really difficult.

At this point I don't know if I can finish it. I'm halfway through and ready to put it down because of these issues. Which is a first for me; if something is well written I'll usually read it even if the story is not very deep. But this is challenging. If you're triggered by sexist language (I mean REALLY sexist language), racism (the racism is more along the microagression style, in which the clueless white person doesn't realize just how oppressive his views really are and thinks he's kind of admiring the culture instead of caricaturing it), or really condescending and crude talk about mentally challenged children, you will want to give this a pass.

I hope the author learns better and writes more from a more enlightened perspective as he has talent and it's too bad his worldview is so infuriating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and enlightening April 2, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Dystopia" is a very thought provoking book about prison life, friendship, self-worth and so much more. We watch two very different men as they grow and change over the years. As you come to know them both, you will find yourself rooting for them and caring so much for them. This was a book I couldn't put down - I had to know what was going to happen next. I laughed and I cried. Although I read it in just a few days, it will stay with me for a lifetime. At the end of the book, Mike Oulton hopes that the reader was entertained as well as enlightened. I was. Ed Griffin wants us to remember for every person the words "You are somebody". I will.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ugly truths, hopeful truths August 2, 2012
By Catana
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very rarely does the subject matter overcome poor editing to the point where I'll just ignore it in a review. This is one of those times. Dystopia is one of those books that refuses to allow the reader to cling to their prejudices (based on ignorance and sensational media reports) about prisons and convicts. Convicts are humans and, as such, they are individuals, a truth that prisons and their employees seem to have a hard time understanding. At the same time, crime isn't something we can brush off by saying that society caused these men to go wrong. What this book does is show us the realities of the conflict between individuals' needs and society's needs, not in an abstract way, but in the interactions between prisoners and a man who has something of value to offer, but also has important lessons to learn from the people he's trying to help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shake, rattle and go to prison June 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Not an easy read. I wanted to smack people on these pages and tell them to 'wake up.' It's about prison, it's about teaching, it's about learning. Two men, two different upbringings, two different roads taken, two problems to overcome, both men need to wake up and face their problems. I just wanted to shake them.
The authors took strong characters, a difficult setting, a controversial problem, and did a good job getting it across.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn Good Read. Hard To Put Down. June 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Two men from very different backgrounds embark on life's journey through some of the toughest places in North America. Both battle physical and spiritual demons, betrayal and disappointment, and find that they'd been pitted on a collision course with hope and rebirth. They say honest writing makes the best writing. And it doesn't get more honest than this. Powerful. Moving.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A view from both sides of the bars January 21, 2013
Dystopia tells the story of two men on opposite sides of the system, one seeking to change it, one seeking to leave it. Ed Griffin is an ex-priest turned creative writing teacher for a Canadian Prison. Mike Oulton is a drug dealer doing time and looking for an outlet to his frustration. The two will eventually meet; teacher and student will forge a friendship and learn that life is never easy, no matter which side of the bars you are on.

Through the course of five books, Ed Griffin and Mike Oulton each tell their own story in their own words, each book alternating between the each storyteller. We begin in 1962 with Ed Griffin becoming a priest and follow him through the years as he slowly becomes disenchanted with the church, marries, has two children, and eventually decides to become a creative writing teacher in the maximum security prison in Waupan, Wisconsin. As the story progresses, he shows us little snapshots of his life, the important events that eventually lead to him deciding that teaching in the prison system would be his way to start his own little revolution. He is a rebel; my generation would most likely have called him a hippie, always in search of making the world a better place. He begins his teaching career in 1968 in Wisconsin. We meet a few of the students in the class and follow as he gets close to one in particular. Eventually, he leaves the American prison system and moves to Canada to teach there, this is where he will meet Mike Oulton.

We meet Mike in 1988 in Victoria, British Columbia. On the day we meet him, he decides to steal a check from his foster father and cash it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This book was good I enjoyed reading it. I enjoyed the story from each authors viewpoint. The ending was very positive.
Published 10 months ago by najohn
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Tale of the Life Behind Bars
Ed Griffin and Mike Oulton give insights into the injustice performed within the US penal system. They do a marvellous job of weaving their fictional prose between some haunting... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Brian Rodda
4.0 out of 5 stars Dystopia
Compelling true story about friendship between an ex-priest & a guy in prison. Over coming life's obstacles. A gritty inside look into Mexican & Canadian prison system.
Published on March 14, 2013 by joyh
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good
Not bad, but a few times I got lost in the constant change of Mike and Ed writings. But I DO THINK its worth reading
Published on November 12, 2012 by DeeDee Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopia
In E reader. Great! I found Dystopia hard to put down. I often wondered about prisons in general and foreign prisons, imagining them to be a night mare. Read more
Published on August 1, 2012 by Normajean Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
Dystopia is one of the weirdest tales of serendipity you'll ever read. An ex-Catholic priest who marched with Dr. Read more
Published on July 31, 2012 by Mercedes
5.0 out of 5 stars Utopia? Far from it!
Ed Griffin asks very hard questions about unpopular Subjects!
His wide experience teaching creative writing in several prisons,
both in the U.S. Read more
Published on July 4, 2012 by Ron Mack
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More About the Author

Ed Griffin teaches creative writing at Matsqui Prison, a medium security prison in Western Canada. He taught the same subject at Waupun prison, a maximum security prison in Wisconsin.

He began his professional life in 1962 as a Roman Catholic priest in Cleveland, Ohio. There he became active in the civil rights movement and marched in Selma with Doctor Martin Luther King. Removed from a suburban parish for his activities, he served for three years in Cleveland's central city. His years in the Roman Catholic Priesthood are the subject of his next novel.

After leaving the priesthood in 1968 he earned a masters degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and was elected to Milwaukee's city council in 1972.

Griffin and his wife, Kathy, opened a commercial greenhouse in suburban Milwaukee in 1976. They lived where they worked and shared the joys of raising children and growing flowers. In 1988 the family, Ed and Kathy, Kevin and Kerry, moved to British Columbia, Canada, where Griffin helped establish a dynamic writing community in the city of Surrey. He is the founder of Western Canada's largest writer's conference, the Surrey Writers' Conference.

He has published poetry, plays, short stories and a newspaper column. His writing has won several awards and the American Humanist Society has honored him as the teacher of a prize-winning inmate writer. Griffin believes that all the arts, including writing, should be encouraged in prison. "As Aristotle said, 'art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul.'"

Ed improves his craft with the Rainwriters' Critique Group. Visit their site

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