In this powerful and brilliant graphic memoir, Beaton depicts the two years she spent working in the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to pay off her student loans. As one of the few women working in the claustrophobic, mostly male oil camps, she experienced relentless misogyny. It would be easy for Beaton and the reader to hate all the men Beaton encountered in the camps, yet Beaton does not allow the reader that too-easy reaction. She challenges the reader to see that these men could be anyone’s fathers, brothers, cousins, and friends. She shows their humanity while at the same time unflinchingly addressing the day-to-day horrors she experienced. It’s a vulnerable, moving, and empathetic glimpse into the micro-society the isolation of oil camps develops. However, it’s clear that the misogyny, though worse in the camps, does not exist only within its confines. Beaton also confronts her own culpability in the climate destruction caused by the oil camps, something she had not considered when, fresh from college, she signed up for the camps. This is easily the best graphic work I’ve read this year. —Margaret Kingsbury
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