70th read: DUCKS; Two Years in the Oil Sands

I’ve wanted this book for so long, but always deemed it too expensive…

…until now.

Finally decided I deserve it.

I’ve been working so hard lately. Here’s a few book-ish things I’m proud of myself for accomplishing in 2023 so far:

  • Reached my 100k words writing deadline 41 days early.
  • Outlined my graphic novel & began my script.
  • Surpassed my original reading goal for the year (it was 56 books, but we are on the 70th!)
  • Made over 50 posts in a row on this reading blog.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


DUCKS Two Years in the Oil Sands


Kate Beaton








Graphic Novel, Canadian, Nonfiction


Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark A Vagrant fame, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beatons, specifically Mabou, a tight-knit seaside community where the lobster is as abundant as beaches, fiddles, and Gaelic folk songs. After university, Beaton heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush, part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, what the journey will actually cost Beaton will be far more than she anticipates.

Arriving in Fort McMurray, Beaton finds work in the lucrative camps owned and operated by the world’s largest oil companies. Being one of the few women among thousands of men, the culture shock is palpable. It does not hit home until she moves to a spartan, isolated worksite for higher pay. She encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet never discussed. Her wounds may never heal.

Beaton’s natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, Northern Lights, and Rocky Mountains. Her first full-length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people.


15 apr 2023


24 apr 2023



Writing Quality:















I loved reading this for many reasons.

Kate Beaton is from Nova Scotia, the province right next to mine. She studied & graduated from the same university I chose. This story follows the decisions she made following her Arts degree.

It was a strange (bittersweet) feeling, seeing the familiar places & names & attitudes I grew up around. It was interesting to see someone’s experience going out West to make money (something we hear a lot about in our area). I don’t know many women who have gone out West to work in the oil industry, so I had never heard a female perspective. It opened my eyes to some harsh realities.

I also loved reading this comic because it shows the lapse of time in which Kate Beaton started her online blog where she became known for her comics & a little bit of her thoughts about it at the time. She is one of my biggest comic inspirations & it’s inspiring to me to see where she started.

Find this author & book

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