cover image Creep: Accusations and Confessions

Creep: Accusations and Confessions

Myriam Gurba. Avid Reader, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-982186-47-0

These powerful essays by Gurba (Mean) reflect on violence against women and discrimination against people of color. The title essay probes the “mundane horror” of abusive relationships, with Gurba sharing how she became romantically involved with a violent man after her marriage fell apart when she was in her late 30s, and how writing her memoir, Mean, gave her the solace and perspective needed to leave him: “Love and hate were, at last, my choices to make.” In “The White Onion,” Gurba dissects her relationship as a Chicana Californian with the work of Joan Didion, suggesting that though she “mentored me in irony, detachment, and condescension,” Didion romanticizes her pioneer ancestors throughout her oeuvre and “says little about the hardships they inflicted” on the region’s Indigenous people. Elsewhere, Gurba teases out similarities between practical jokes and rape, contending both take victims by surprise while humiliating and dominating them (“To survive gender-based violence, sexual violence in particular, one of the things I’ve had to do is strategically not take it seriously”), and tells how the censures her cousin Desiree received from loved ones after speaking up about being sexually abused by her distant kin led Desiree to start using meth and develop an addiction that eventually landed her in jail. Full of lean prose and biting commentary, this is as emotionally heavy as it is hard to put down. (Sept.)