Title: Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame
Author: Erin Williams
Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
Genre: Graphic Memoir
We go through life hiding all the shame, and not acknowledging our innermost thoughts, what we really think and what we would really want to do. Erin Williams not only bares her soul through her art, but in the process also helps others internalise the trauma and talk about it, well to some extent.
Commute is a book that is about so many things – it is about Williams’ daily commute to and from work, it is about her sexual encounters – past and present, about her past relationships (the guilt associated with some and the idea of them not working out), about men always taking space (whether on the train or in life), making women second-guess, gas-lighting, and asserting their right on women’s bodies.
Williams does this with a touch of humour but doesn’t ignore the intensity and seriousness of it all. Commuting is so local, global, and more than anything personal. Each individual’s journey is so unique, and we see that through Williams’ journey – regardless of the places, and what’s happening, we are constantly observing – what others read, what other commuters are doing, and in that we also tend to drift. What is it like travelling in a female body? I will never know. I can only learn and empathise and that’s what I did from this book.
Commute is mostly told through feedback, reminiscent of childhood and teenage years. Commute makes the male gaze visible in 300 pages or less. It is a graphic memoir that was needed to be told and a most essential addition to the list. Read it on the train, perhaps.
Books and Authors mentioned in Commute
- James Patterson
- Anne Carson
- Fear and Trembling
- Eve Ensler
- I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
- Slant Six by Erin Belieu
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
- Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
- The Gift by Barbara Browning
- Mary Roach
- Natalie Shapero
- After Claude by Iris Owens
- Valleyspeak by Cait Weiss Orcutt
- Clive Cussler
- Anne Rice