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Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  92 reviews
An intimate, clever, and ultimately gut-wrenching graphic memoir about the daily decision women must make between being sexualized or being invisible

In Commute, we follow author and illustrator Erin Williams on her daily commute to and from work, punctuated by recollections of sexual encounters as well as memories of her battle with alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. As she mov
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  261 ratings  ·  92 reviews


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Lou
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I set a lot of things aside with topics personal to me but because I felt this was such an important book I made time for it. Sadly, this turned out to be something completely different to what I, and many others, had envisaged when reading the synopsis. I was willing to move past my usual mantra of not even really considering graphic novels and second and much more importantly, I was willing to accept that this, owing to the topic, would undoubtedly open old wounds in regards to sexual abuse su ...more
Anniek
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

Read this for a fatphobic White Feminist take on the male gaze.

Let's start with a positive: I quite enjoyed the art work in this graphic novel. It's simple and mostly done in sketch lines, and I loved the layout, with lots of empty space.

I really didnt' like this novel though. The first quarter of the book seems to be focused on the main character getting ready for work in the
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Book Soul9
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.

✦ 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/>
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Kirsty
Damn, I really thought I was going to love this. But I’m now halfway through and just can’t bear another 150 pages of it, so it’s a DNF. I thought it was going to be along the lines of Maria Stoian’s ‘Take it as a Compliment’, which I loved. But it’s largely about the protagonist going about her dull morning routine while thinking about the various unpleasant heterosexual men she’s known. Which is... fine I guess? But not something I’m that into.

Basically the point of the book is that (heterose
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Lily
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
***Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!***

The concept of this book was wonderful, however, the execution left a lot to b desired. The art style freaked me out a little bit, but I know that's a very subjective thing. However, some of the illustrations looked like chicken scratch without any effort put in.

The chronology was also very strange, in that 1/4 of the book was just talking about her morning routine and then she kep
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Nen & Jen
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This memoir of ‘female shame’ really tore in to my heart with its intimate authenticity. Erin Williams’ story does not bow down to normal conventions of removing banality and hiding the grittier aspects of life. This story is raw with honesty and flays your heart open like a fresh wound ready to take a repeated pounding. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was the simplistic artistic style that did not aspire to perfection but rather existed as a visual representation of Williams’ message of shining ...more
Rod Brown
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wrong book, wrong day. There may be some good points in here about the cover topic of female shame, but early on the author declares that she is an alcoholic and much of the book recounts her shitty and drunken interactions with shitty men during a time when she was her shittiest person. A lot of who I am today is defined by the infinite resentment I hold toward the alcoholics in my life, and reading about this one today caught me off guard and really pissed me off. (I read most of the new graph ...more
Brianna -  Coffee Books and Bullet Journals
1.5 Stars

Wow... This was not at all what I was expecting and was actually pretty terrible. I get what the author was trying to do. She was trying to show the struggles that women have in today's society. But it was so stereotyped, it wasn't believable. The author comes across as a misandrist, homophobic and fatphobic. She constantly talks about how she, at 125 pounds is fat and therefore undesirable, and if you weren't desirable (to men) you were invisible and not worthy (very harmfu
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Pamela
Wow! I am floored by the brave and honest truth in this book. Erin Williams tells an unflinching reality about herself and sadly many, many women. I can identify all too well with her story. Perhaps not to the degree but yes, had a few similar experiences, being taken advantage of by guys then feeling the shame. Finally women are talking about this openly.

I'm amazed at how forceful and direct this author wrote and illustrated her life story. She is unflinching and it is uncomfortable
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Elyse
NetGalley ARC.

Warning: There are graphic drawings (just human anatomy but still) that I was not prepared for. You've been warned.

I appreciate what the author was trying to do but I just couldn't relate to much of anything. This is her personal diary basically. I've never had a problem with alcohol. I don't live in the city, I'm not often on the subway, I've never been in much of the situations she's been in. I'm glad to feel invisible in crowds or with strangers, it doesn't make me feel lonely. May/>Warning:
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Richard
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Erin Williams is a writer and illustrator living in New York. She is the author and artist who has produced this wonderful graphic novel. Commute: An Illustrated memoir of female shame.
She uses the daily journey to and from work to highlight what it is to be a woman. The simple act which can become a daily chore for women who can be left uncomfortable by male attention. Lustful stares, inappropriate touching and the whole aspect of being objectified.
Yet the piece of writing is far more th
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Laura
This is a stream of consciousness of a woman and how she feels she is represented in the world. Part of it is based on her commute back and forth to the office. Part of it is her thoughts on everything around her, and how women are assaulted with the gaze of men.

There is a little too much about how she gets ready in the morning. The beginning of the book is a bit drawn out.



This is a stream of consciousness of a woman and how she feels she is represented in the world. Part of it is based on her commute back and forth to the office. Part of it is her thoughts on everything around her, and how women are assaulted with the gaze of men.

There is a little too much about how she gets ready in the morning. The beginning of the book is a bit drawn out.





But once you get past that, and she talks about all things women, about giving birth, about many bad dates, and about the way advertising features women's bodies.

It is a bit of stream of consiouoness about it, and if you can stand reading that way, you might find this enjoyable.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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Courtney
Oct 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was not for me. There was a lot of stereotyping of all kinds.
Sara
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't know. There were parts of this I really loved and honestly I think I would've liked it better if it had represented more of my own experiences of female shame. But I appreciated it for its therapeutic insight and I liked reading about her alcoholism amd sobriety. I also dislike reading books by men!

I think part of the reason I couldn't love this book is that Erin leaves the door open for "undesirable" women and people to tell their own stories, but she also fears becoming und
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Marija (Inside My Library Mind)
More reviews up on my blog Inside My Library Mind

This is difficult for me to review, simply because it's so deeply personal and covers a lot of really delicate themes and I just feel bad putting a number or a star rating to that, so I am going to hold off on giving it a rating.

First of all, I think this is so raw and dark and personal and really intimate, and I think it takes a lot of courage to put that out into the world. And reading about these experiences is I think important and sharing
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Siobhán
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*

"Our traumas become our shame. Shame is an instrument of oppression." (285/286)

In "Commute", Erin Williams not only describes her day from waking up to coming back home, but also lets us travel through her traumas (#metoo). Past boyfriends, rape, sexual harassment, the male gaze, sexual violence and also alcoholism. It's all there. And the terrifying thing is: as a female, I have
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Vinny
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm completely hooked by the premise of this book, hence the reason why I requested it in the first place. However, I personally think that the idea was not very well-executed. The pace was dragging and it feels too long at so many points. There were a lot of unnecessary details that don't have any real impact on the plot. I also disagreed with a few lines in this book, but mostly on how it implied that every woman wants to be wanted as if it's a matter of fact. As if the purpose of a woman's ex ...more
Cait Weiss Orcutt
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A deeply moving, unflinching but also somehow wondrous account of what goes on in our mind (those memories, hopes, fears, rehashings of shame, moments of self doubt...) when we are just going through the habitual moments of our days. While the protagonist of this graphic memoir has gotten sober and is therefore rebuilding herself & reexamining past traumas, anyone with a past & a body can relate to those weird time-travelleing moments where some innocuous person, place or thing reminds y ...more
Jenny Yao
Nov 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I enjoyed the art style and her nonchalant prose, however the contents of this book do not match up. It is a prime example of white "feminism". The author makes herself extremely unlikable and displays a narrow view of the world with her borderline misogyny, fatphobia, and general apathy. She seemingly exists in a social bubble of white, cishet, and well off people, which is fine on its own but results in the book being impossible for me to relate to. I would not regard this book as a feminist n ...more
Eva
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I related to the character in many ways and saw loved ones in her words as well. I read it in practically one sitting and I bet you will too. The first time it's read I mean. ;)
Jill Kenna
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for a free review copy of this book.

This book was very interesting. It took me a little while to settle into it and to find the rhythm but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I felt like the beginning of the book was where I struggled to connect with the author the most. I felt like the morning routine section was just to long and detailed. I understood where she was going with it but it was so long that I can see a lot of readers losing interest quickly. Once I g
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Kobeest
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
hugely informative look deep into a woman's psyche. so much is said without words. the drawings work like an spare, emotionally intense movie.

loved it.
Cy
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, memoir
some parts i was rly into, some parts i was rly not
freckledbibliophile
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book Commute, is a must-read. We as women have all in some shape or form had a related experience as Erin Williams. Female shaming is critical, and if allowed to fester can be malignant.

#commute #netgalley
Diane Hernandez
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
“There was no greater violence than affection.” If you like that quote, I believe you will enjoy Commute, a graphic novel for the #metoo movement.

Unfortunately, I just thought the book was sad. Erin had some difficulties early in life. To “overcome them”, she drinks. Heavily. Every night. Before finding some guy in a bar to sleep with. Even though she doesn’t enjoy it. As one character in the story states, “don’t look for oranges in a gas station.” I wanted to hear her story rather t
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Kelly
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
My feelings are all over the place on this one.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and drug use.)

shame is an instrument of oppression.

The first time Erin Williams was raped, she was sixteen years old. Her assailant was a guy named John, the older cousin of a friend who dragged her away from a beach party and into a neighboring yard. She was drunk, and it would be decades before she had another sexual encounter - consensual, forcuse.)
shameone.
(Full
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Emily Childress-Campbell
*I received an Advance Review Copy from Edelweiss*

Alison Bechdel meets Rupi Kaur but much more raw than either of them. Williams uses her morning commute and daily routine to reflect on the male gaze and men who have abused her in various ways through the years. Both her tone and the art is stark. I wouldn't call it enjoyable but I would call it moving.
Pam (Who Cried Books)
Quickie Plot: A book about how some men are trash and women have to deal with them

Actual Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First of all, thank you, Netgalley, for providing me an ARC for Commute.

“The yes or no of consent is not what separates mutual desire from predation. The game is rigged; all the power is concentrated on the other side. We are groomed for compliance.”

Things I loved and other thoughts:
* Upon seeing the cover and reading the blurb, I kind of had an idea/>/>
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Steff Pasciuti
In a great many ways, Commute by Erin Williams was one of the most uncomfortable books I have ever read. To some degree, this is warranted and necessary. At other points, it's too much and not quite as insightful as I was hoping it would be. Very much so, Commute is about one woman's experiences. And while it is very possible for many of us to relate to much of what is brought up throughout the course of this graphic novel, it's also very clear that this is an incredibly personal story and it is not one that quite sends theso, isways, by ...more
Holly Noyce Barnham
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Commute is a pitch perfect diatribe about modern life as a woman, about female shame, about the live to work life and the day to day boredom of a commute. Written in a wry humour that reminded me of Alison Blechdel in Fun Home, and with minimalist but effective images, it's a fantastically visual foray into the author's brain, told in vignettes and highly quotable. It's funny, it's sad, it's dry and dark and full of hope all at the same time - and it's about all of us at some points, it's about ...more
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