Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Woman's Work” as Want to Read:
This Woman's Work
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Woman's Work

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  980 ratings  ·  140 reviews
A profound and personal exploration of the intersections of womanhood, femininity, and creativity

This Womans Work is a powerfully raw autobiographical work that asks vital questions about femininity and the assumptions we make about gender. Julie Delporte examines cultural artifacts and sometimes traumatic memories through the lens of the woman she is today—a feminist who
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published October 23rd 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Woman's Work, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This Woman's Work

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  980 ratings  ·  140 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of This Woman's Work
Dave Schaafsma
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism, gn-women
“Whenever anything was poorly done, my father would joke, ‘Must be a woman’s handiwork’”--Delporte

I’d only so far, until now, read Julia Delporte’s Everywhere Antennas, and liked it. It’s unique and lovely and interesting. Ethereal, in a way. This one, This Woman’s Work, is a series of personal reflections about being a woman and artist in a man’s world. It’s kinda ethereal, too.

It’s not exactly a memoir and it’s not really a narrative. It’s meandering and elliptical. It’s a kind of journal, I
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the artwork and most of the story, especially the pieces where the author is trying to figure out her balance between being an independent woman and desiring love, but it's a bit stream of consciousness, which is never my favorite thing. I read it once - loved it at the beginning and finished kind of confused. Skimmed it a second time and it started to come together more for me. I think I'd have reacted differently if I'd gone in knowing that the book was meant to be read as snippets a ...more

In 2014 graphic memoirist Julie Delporte arrived in Helsinki intent on beginning her planned biography of the writer, painter, and popular cartoonist, Tove Jansson. Reflecting on the choices Jansson made to affirm her independence and to place her art at the center of her life, Delporte’s work morphed over the next four years into a meditative journal recording her deepening engagement with feminist themes.

“This Woman’s Work” offers brief, loosely connected vignettes ranging from vivid dream seq
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, favorites
Honestly just beautiful. There are so many pages within this book that I want to rip out and frame.
Jen Taylor
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I fell into this book and didn’t come out until I was done.
The art is lovely and while I love the exploration of how women have come to carve out their own spaces in making and creating (art, other humans, space, etc), I couldn't entirely connect with this one. It's not bad, but it is a bit all over the place. ...more
Mia Vicino
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
beautiful meditation on women and their artistic work. loved the drawings inspired by women directed films -- what a nice surprise to see references to claire denis, gillian armstrong, barbara loden, and more!!
Feb 28, 2020 added it
Kristine Slotina
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful peace I would gift to every woman I know if I could!
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic, memoir
Sometimes you pick up the right book at the right time -- this sensitive, understated graphic novel about being in your early 30s, childlessness, and the echoes of sexual trauma all speak to me very strongly right now. Delporte's drawings are unusual and beautiful: they appear to have been drawn using coloured pencil, and use few lines and a depth of strong colour to achieve their effect. There are elements of collage as well as line-drawing. She never uses direct speech, but her images evoke th ...more
Pale, loose illustrations form an exploration-as-memoir of the author's relationship with sexism, feminism, creativity, work, and Tove Jansson. Issues like this can't be solved, but they can be progressed--and this is very much in progress, gaining new layers which both aid in and complicate resolution. But the progress didn't speak to me--more a case of wrong reader than bad text: it's relatable, in some specifics and certainly in broad strokes, but not personally provoking or insightful, and t ...more
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating rumination on trauma, womanhood, and the life of one of my favorite artists. Delporte's art is gorgeous, immersive, and personal--this book reads like a collection of diary entries, and by the end, Delporte feels almost like a friend. The best kind of graphic memoir. ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved the artwork. It had such vibrant colors. Such a deeply personal and thought provoking memoir that is perfect for both Women's History Month and the #Metoo movement. ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Wow. Utterly unique. Quietly insightful. Leaving me feeling a mix of inspired & exhausted.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous illustrations and open-hearted narrative. I read the English translation. And my interest in Delporte's work was confirmed by her choice of inspirational role models such as Tove Janssen and geneviève castree. We have a similar travel path as well with major life moments happening in Finland and in Belgium so I connected with this book on more levels than just 'the woman's experience'. ...more
Kate Atherton
I love Julie Delporte's work. She uses the simplest, one image, one scene drawings paired with captions that, slowly but surely tell stories about her life (and, in this instance the lives of Tove Jannson and other female artists) with such love and attention. Mostly a bright colored pencil artist who utilizes a lot of white space, Delporte is such a good draftsman. She draws with the ease and intimacy of someone NOT publishing a book, the whole book feels like a peek into someone's journal writ ...more
Amory Blaine
A calm, meandering collection - a reflection, faintly, on what it means to be a woman, especially a woman who creates.

The author references a lot of other works, both drawing and quoting painters, filmmakers, and storytellers. Her favorite is Tove Jansson, the woman who created Moomin. "What would Tove do?" her therapist asks at one point. We don't know what the circumstances are for either woman - Julie or Tove - and so there's no way to answer that. Buy an island, visit a lighthouse, WORK...

Margaret Cann
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I originally checked this out of the library with a combined interest in the subject matter and the accessible way the art and handwriting combine to create a book that feels like a personal journal, something inherently non-threatening about it...


The depth of the subject matter surprised me and I identify so strongly with some of the passages(one pictured above) that I felt the author was talking directly to me. I also thought the translators did a great job and occasionally inserted an import
Enid Wray
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful little book.

As a piece or art, and as a moving exploration of women’s place in the world, there is much to be said for it. The illustrations are unique, light, ethereal and drawn without frames - with no borders or boundaries. The fact of having no boundaries on the images ties in beautifully with the open ended ‘contemplation’ that is at the heart of the book.

By sharing her own deeply personal journey, she asks the reader to question so many assumptions and beliefs about wom
Jessica Rosner
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous illustrations and beautiful writing.
The book is an homage to writer/illustrator Tove Jansson. I’ve only recently come to know her work and my knowledge is based on one adult novel I read. I was unaware of the Moomins except that one of my friends is a fan and showed me some of that series.
It also captures that feeling so many women have of feeling like they want to be part of a couple, but also feel smothered just thinking about it.
I’m much older than Delporte but I admire her drive
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To my eye, Julie Delporte's art has free-flowing confident lines that come from years of honing her work: always be drawing. I really like seeing the elements of her work, the reproduced tape marks securing the original drawings to the manuscript, the occasional colored pencil marks on the outer sides of the drawing (choosing colors? testing the sharpness of the pencil lead?). I really like how all the work remains clearly in her developed style and expresses itself in many different ways: quick ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, haunting, intriguing, inspiring, unsettling. These are just a few of the adjectives that came to mind as I devoured Julie Delporte's graphic novel in one sitting. The title is assumed to refer to motherhood, and Delporte dives into this rich topic through a side entry, expanding the moment between when she desires to be pregnant and the realization that she indeed might be expecting into a series of flashbacks of her life as a woman so far. I was enchanted by the genre and Delporte's ...more
Sean M Puckett
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Giving this two stars is difficult but honest. It's an amble, not going anywhere in particular, kind of like walking on a somewhat scenic trail. And while the art is fine and the writing is fine, and some of the sentiments are well expressed and interesting, it just left me wishing for a book by the same author that had a little more power to engage and capture the imagination. I think the best line in the book is on the first page, and it's a quoted anti-feminist insult from her father. So, whi ...more
This is a meditation on Delporte's life told in colored pencil drawings. She reflects on childhood sexual abused and how it becomes layered in her consciousness of gender and relationships. The book is framed by a tour of women's art and especially a favorite of hers: Tove Jansson, who wrote the Moomin books. She adores Jansson and at one point her therapist asks her what Tove Jansson would do. Delporte's style is reminiscent of some of the early Moomin art. Reading this book is a bit like peeki ...more
Stephanie Baird
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the english translation (purchased at Drawn and Quarterly in Montreal) and fell in love with her lyrical drawings and writing. Highly recommend this book for anyone interested in what women go through and how they process trauma. Also, I loved the format of art book/journal/manga. Julie Delporte, if you are reading this (and if this book is autobiographical), please look into EMDR psychotherapy for trauma (I am an emdr psychotherapist and have seen miraculous healing from trauma).
Thank y
Dakota Morgan
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Thoughtful and at times potent, This Woman's Work loosely traces the author's life over a few recent years. Primary themes are feminism, dreams, her love life, and Tove Jansson, creator of the The Moomins. I'll be honest: I was most interested in the latter facet of this book. But Delporte also has some important things to say about a woman's place in the world and ways that could be improved. It's far from a damning screed, though - This Woman's Work is a real ramble with loose, vague illustrat ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful colored pencil and hand lettered autobiographical graphic novel that feels a little like a feminist zine I would have been obsessed with in the 90s. The illustrations are gorgeous and the color palate is subdued and warm and pleasing. The text explores what it means to be a woman, an artist, a mother, and a survivor. This was an extremely quick read and I will probably come back to it a second time. Fans the Moomin series will be pleasantly surprised to find a kindred spirit in this ...more
Chels Patterson
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s a wonderful read.

Although written in cursive and not type, it is easy to read with big lettering. The images are raw and childlike, that sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking at you still feel the emotions.

The book did a wonderful thing, making me want to read other authors, that I typically would glance over. It seems to be a book about feminism in the most intimate of ways, the question of motherhood and relationship with others.

It’s not at all what I was expecting to read but I a
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Julie Delporte's work never fails to pull at something that I have hidden away. This autobiographical comic about women carving out spaces for healing and creativity, connection and inspiration was fragile yet so vitally insistent on making itself heard. Delporte opened worlds for me, alerting my attention to lesser known female artists, writers, and cartoonists. And, of course, reigniting my love for Tove Jannson and her delightful moomins. This is a comic I will hold dearly, yes oh yes. ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
This was a really interesting book. It's not a memoir or a journal. It's more of a meditation on her mindset and experiences, channeled through some thoughts on the great Finnish author Tove Jansson. I found it ... I don't know... Mostly, I just found myself wanting to read it without any expectation or judgment or "white knight" instincts, to just understand and accept her experience as her own and worthy of sharing. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • C'est comme ça que je disparais
  • La vie d'artiste
  • The Hard Tomorrow
  • Les Petits Garçons
  • Anaïs Nin - Sur la mer des mensonges
  • Zviane au Japon
  • I Know You Rider
  • Flipette & Vénère
  • Maquillée
  • Commando Culotte
  • Dancing After TEN
  • Long Red Hair
  • Ténèbre
  • Radium Girls
  • I Want You
  • Chauffer le dehors
  • La Petite Dernière
  • Alienation
See similar books…
Born in Saint-Malo, France, in 1983, Julie Delporte lives in Montreal, where she publishes books and zines. Journal, a collection of her journal comics, was published by Koyama Press in May 2013. In 2011–2012, she was a fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. She has published a French children’s book (Je suis un raton laveur), as well as some short pieces at L’e ...more

News & Interviews

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
10 likes · 3 comments
“Je voulais tellement pas être un fille... je voulais être un loup ou un dauphin.” 1 likes
“Je me demande ce que c'est que d'avoir grandi trauma. C'est la lecture qui me sauve (comme quand j'étais enfant).” 1 likes
More quotes…