Currently Reading: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

I’m about 100 pages into this memoir. I didn’t know anything about the content, just that I enjoyed Beaton’s other work and I was curious to see what she was up to now. I didn’t realize it was about her life right after college. Within the first few pages, it was an eye-opening experience. As someone who has grown up and managed to stay comfortably middle class in a part of the United States that has also been pretty solid in its economy, grasping the feeling of that small town life – a small town with a big identity but also zero prospects – took me a moment. But Beaton made it easier to understand that struggle, just with those extra lines under her eyes in the cartoon version of her. The squiggles around her mom’s speech bubbles as she held in tears at her daughter stepping out into a big scary world.

And this wasn’t a big scary world like, oh she’s going to the big city to make her art degree into a career – no, it was an actual scary snowy landscape full of big machines and lonely men and a job that had nothing to do with what she studied and was just a means for her to make money to pay off all her debt so she could actually start her career.

100 pages in and it is getting tense. Those nights alone in the tool club, with one on one conversations with men that have come in from the cold, asking her for a tool, a coffee, and more often than not, some kind of sexual harassment that the 22-year old recoils from.

I’ve got roughly 300 pages left and I’m concerned about where Kate’s story is going…even though I know success is waiting for her someday.


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