An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame
by Erin Williams
Abrams, October 2019
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 moves through the world navigating banal, familiar, and sometimes uncomfortable interactions with the familiar-faced strangers 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 responsibility attached to both. With echoes of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements still reverberating, Commute is sure to reinforce the sentiment that there is power gained when women share their stories and realize that they are not alone in their experiences. With stunning accuracy, Commute tackles questions that nearly every woman has asked herself when confronted with the harsh realities of objectification.
Erin Williams’s decision to tell her story in graphic novel form invites readers to engage with the content and questions at hand in a new way. With compelling illustrations on every page, readers are able to visualize themselves in each situation, making this story feel incredibly intimate.