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

Posted in Bookish Talk

Reading Update: Commute by E. Williams and The Art of Breaking Things by L. Sibson

Hello bookworms,
It is Thursday and I felt like I need to write something here, so I decided to do the update on reading. As you probably know, last week I created an August TBR list and decided to stick with it. So far I have finished Commute by Erin Williams and I enjoyed reading it. While I was reading the book, I had the feeling that every woman needs to read this book. It is about women – learning that their voice is equally important and how it should be heard. It is full of feminism and I liked how the author carefully chose her words.

Commute contains some brilliant illustrations and you cannot run away from this book – it grabs your attention the moment you open it. The illustrations are personalized as the woman portrayed in the book looks very much like the author herself. I think it’s beautiful! Speaking of the illustrations – there’s some exciting news: the final version will be printed in colour. Yay! I will have to order it. I must have it.

Also, Commute is definitely something written for the adult reader because it contains some explicit content. You might not want to recommend it to the young readers. This book deals with some serious issues such as alcoholism, recovery, and addiction. We learn about the author’s battles and the ending carries such a strong message. I know I said that I wanted some light reads this summer, but from time to time we must read something that will rack our brains, right?

The second part of this post I wanted to dedicate to the book I’m currently reading. It is called The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson. I’m halfway through it and I just love it. It’s a moving story about the young girl Skye who goes through so much trouble. It breaks my heart!It is a really sad story and it also deals with some dark stuff like family abuse, drugs, and alcoholism. From the beginning of the book, I suspected that something is terribly wrong with Skye’s relationship with her mother’s boyfriend. And I was right!

All I want is to hug Skye and tell her that she’s not alone in this world. She puts on her brave smile every day, but I know that she needs somebody who will tell her that it is going to be alright. In this moment, I hate her Mother because she simply doesn’t care about Skye and her sister Emma. The only important thing for Skye’s Mother is to have a full bottle of vine. It’s just so, so wrong… I hope she will open her eyes and finally see the truth.

And that’s it. I hope to finish The Art of Breaking Things by the end of this week. Also, I will write the book review on Commute but it will probably happen sometime later in this month because I want to read the rest of my August TBR list, and then I will decide about my opinion and ratings.

What are you reading this week?