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Corrour is gorgeous — an eternity of heather, rock and sky. I trudged off towards Loch Ossian , where a previous owner had kept a steamship. In these follies lies the argument for private owners.


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Both families have invested millions into swathes of unproductive land. Schwarzenbach had to get his granite from Portugal, an extravagance only the super wealthy would tolerate. And the rest of us are said to be privileged to be allowed to wander about their land without permission, a right not shared in England.

The argument goes that nobody would look after this land, pour so much into it, if the multimillionaires couldn't afford to. After my two-day walk, I ended up in Dalwhinnie. It is a village that barely survives and only thanks to the distillery and the cars whistling past on the A9. All over the Highlands are villages that drift forward with no opportunities for the residents because, while they may walk over local land without hindrance, they can't accrue any financial reward from it. I know one village, which has a population of 60 people.

Half are unemployed. The pub burnt down. The school closed.

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And no one wants to take over the post office. Seventeen years ago, I was environment correspondent for Scotland on Sunday and ran a campaign called The Scots' Land. Since then advances have been made by the amazing campaigners I was reporting on, people such as the great Scottish land reformer Andy Wightman. The first sign was in when the Thatcherite Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth laid down a gauntlet to campaigners by handing over a chunk of Forestry Commission land to the people of Laggan. After devolution, the land reform bill became law, allowing local people to group together and get a first shot at buying any local land that came up for sale.

It was an event the Scottish Daily Mail celebrated by calling the Zimbabwean consul for a congratulatory quotation. We never go into the prison itself. We don't get attached to the characters in the story her friends, or even her family. There isn't a big climactic plot moment. The illustrations are black and white, and use a variety of panel layouts.

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It's true. Which kinda means it's boring. Which is probably a good thing, really. Sep 06, Cassandra rated it it was amazing Shelves: scanned-stuff-i-m-being-forced-to-s. OK, obviously I can't be objective about this book because I know and adore Colleen. This is the best graphic memoir of them all. Mar 29, Russell Taylor rated it really liked it. This is a memoir not overburdened with airs of literary aspiration.

Rather, it's a well-told collection of childhood memories from a fairly normal youth put in a mildly unusual environment, strung together with a bit of nostalgia on the occasion of a last visit to the place that shaped her.

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No deep traumas are discovered or revisited, no great social cause is invoked, and no lesson is learned. It's an accessible, well-paced, and entertaining read. Layouts are simple and regular, the art composed This is a memoir not overburdened with airs of literary aspiration. Layouts are simple and regular, the art composed of bold strokes and basic but clear facial sketches.

I'll also put in a word for the prolific use of maps at the head of each chapter, a useful feature for a work so essentially about a particular place. May 23, Sparkleypenguin rated it liked it Shelves: graphic-novels , memoirs. It was okay. The pacing and overall story line confused the hell out of me and just felt disjointed and unconnected.

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Sep 18, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: best-of Colleen and her family grew up in unique circumstances. Her parents both worked in prisons and their longest assignment had them both living and working on the last prison island in the United States. The island was limited to prisoners, employees and families; a tiny community connected to the mainland by ferry.

The artwork is intimate and cleverly uses an orange palette while drawing heavily on equal parts memory and research. Her writing and artwork is spare and the storytelling is straightforward. Frakes treats all of her subjects with sensitivity and fairness, which provides a balanced and compassionate view of the challenges prisoners and prison staff often face when working together. This is the rare book that addresses prison life that you could hand to a teen who has relative serving time.

Dec 10, Nicola Mansfield rated it liked it. This certainly sounded like it would make for a cool story. The author's real-life account of growing up on a penitentiary island. Unfortunately, I found it dull. The story flashes back to episodes from her childhood on the island and life as the child of migratory prison guard parents in general. Slight humour and a fairly interesting peek into an unusual lifestyle, This certainly sounded like it would make for a cool story.

Slight humour and a fairly interesting peek into an unusual lifestyle, but nothing dramatic or climactic happens. I became bored half way through and had to push myself to finish it. Wasn't really worth the effort. Mar 03, Eric Piotrowski rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , biography , comics , graphic-novels , memoir , fun. I found this on display at a used bookstore while searching for something to read during lunch on a day off.

It was perfect — easy to get into, accessible art style, nothing too heavy. In a way I feel bad giving it only three stars, but I liked it, and that's a sincere compliment.

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It just doesn't go farther than that. It doesn't need to. This is a simple, honest, straightforward memoir about living on a prison island.


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It delivers exactly what it promises on the tin. It's interesting and well-pace I found this on display at a used bookstore while searching for something to read during lunch on a day off. It's interesting and well-paced, mixing facts about the island's history with slices of the author's life.

Getting a pizza delivered, for example, is an arduous process for the kids. I feel like I need concrete reasons for denying those other two stars, but the truth is that I will recommend this with a smile.. It's good, but for whatever reason doesn't cross over into great. I'm wondering now if a book like this could be great, according to my arbitrary standards, and I don't know.

Perhaps it would need the kind of exhaustive research and literary connectivity of Fun Home , but this isn't that kind of book — nor should it be. The best thing about the book is the personal reflections on proximity to prison. Meeting the people who know the people inside; glimpses of life while an escapee is at large. That sort of thing. Plus the author includes excellent little touches like "mow" from the cat, and Mean Girls -style haterade during a sleepover.

It's a fun book to read. That is all. Jun 06, Eli Claire rated it it was ok. And honestly, I was kind of disappointed. I wanted more history and more details about life on the island - the author lived there for 10 years, and I feel like I barely got a glimpse into a year of her living there. Most of what I got was that it sucked being reliant on a boat to get to the mainland, and that the community was very close. So, I am glad that I had a little bit of perspective about the life on prison island, but I wanted so much more I wish the graphic novel had been much longer, and more detailed!

Plus, I found two spelling mistakes. Apr 02, Courtney rated it liked it Shelves: ccpl , visual , ya. There's no real narrative arc here. It's more a series of interludes about the author's experience living on a prison island in the PNW. Perhaps this structure is a good fit for the intended audience YA , but I think it does limit the overall impact of Prison Island. I like the novelty of the topic and I learned the term "Island Brat" , and some of the vignettes are well-written, but I bumped it down to 2.

If a graphic memoir 2. If a graphic memoir is not capitalizing on the graphics, I get very rage-y. Considering the unique, bucolic vibe of Puget Sound and the area the author is describing, it really felt like a waste of potential to have a rather bland and basic visual style. Perhaps if Frakes had veered closer to mixed-media, and incorporated some photos alongside her illustrations, the medium would have been more impactful.