Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Commute by Erin Williams

An intimate and powerful visual exploration of the blurred lines between yes and no, consent and assault, and the daily decisions women must make between being sexualized or being invisible

About Commute

Thank you to Abrams ComicArts for giving me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

✦ ABOUT THE AUTHOR✦
Erin Williams is a writer, illustrator, and researcher living in New York. She’s the coauthor of The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People and The Big Activity Book for Anxious People.

✦ SYNOPSIS✦
In Commute, we follow author and illustrator Erin Williams on her daily commute to and from work, puncuated by recollections of sexual encounters as well as memories of her battle with alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. As she moves through the world navigating banal, familiar, and sometimes uncomfortable interactions with the familiar-faced stranger she sees daily, Williams weaves together a riveting collection of flashbacks.
Her recollections highlight the indefinable moments when lines are crossed and a woman must ask herself if the only way to avoid being objectified is to simply cease to draw any attention to her physical being. She delves into the gray space that lives between consent and assault and tenderly explores the complexity of the shame, guilt, vulnerability, and the responsibility attached to both.

✦ THE FEMALE FACE OF SHAME ✦
In her book, Erin talks about an uncomfortable reality and the way she accepted the truth about herself. Erin represents many women who have experienced exactly the same thing. Almost every woman has been taken advantage of by some guy and after she felt shame. And now, Erin ecourages these women to talk freely about that subject. She tells us that it is natural to feel this way, but she also says that we should stand up for ourselves. There is something intriguing about the power of women that makes them so unique.

✦ SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN ✦
There is one big, ugly truth. Men view women as sex objects. No matter how much we try to reject that fact, it just exists. It’s our reality and the author of this book shows us that. Erin tells us her story about relationships with guys. Each one of them saw her as a sex object. This sexual objectification reflects on her self image in a way that she was constantly searching for male approval. She invites guy to come over her place, but she doesn’t feel anything.

✦ IT IS OKAY TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF ✦
Many women do not talk about female shame or any kind of abuse. Women are raped, treated badly, or were neglected and some of them just remain silent about that. They think it is something natural – the way it should be. The truth is that it is NOT natural and it should NEVER be like that. They deserve much, much better things and Commute is all about that. The author wants us women to be united and always support each other.

✦ OVERALL ✦
I really enjoyed reading this book and it was so emotional experience for me. Just the way Erin talks about her battles freely is so uncomfortable for me, and I admire her for her strength. It takes a lot of courage to talk about your life openly, especially when you have been through so much.
I also loved the illustration in the book and I can’t wait to order the final copy – it will be printed in color and I am beyond excited! Also, this book is not for young readers because there is some explicit content. I definitely recommend this book to adult readers who like to read self-help books.

My rating: 4/5 ⭐
Expected publication: October 8th 2019 by Abrams ComicArts

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