Author: Jenny Downham
Published by: David Fickling Books
Publication date: 3rd September 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary/LGBT/Family
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Unbecoming is one of the most beautiful books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It's honest, raw, hopeful and definitely not unbecoming in the slightest. It's actually not something I would usually want to read, but after getting the sampler at YALC and discovering Unbecoming's parallels with my own life, I needed to know more and was very glad when the book was offered for review.
I loved, loved, LOVED the multi-generational aspect. If I remember rightly, I've only ever read one book like that (Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple, if you're wondering) and it's so interesting to me. There's seventeen-year-old Katie, studying for exams and questioning her sexuality whilst dealing with her parents splitting up and being the person her mother relies upon most. Then there's her mother, Caroline, with a mountain of secrets. And Katie's grandmother, Mary, who has Alzheimer's and needs her memories writing down and her family tree on the wall by her bed so she doesn't forget.
My late great grandmother had Alzheimer's (her name was also Mary, funnily enough) so Unbecoming was a little strange to me at times because of the similarities, but I appreciated it. With Mary's flashbacks and snippets of memories randomly inserted here and there, and with so many complex stories in one book, you'd think it would be confusing to read but it all weaved together seamlessly. I loved reading about the different generations and seeing their differences, their similarities, their struggles and their triumphs. Not only did we see things from Katie's perspective, but also Mary's which was insightful.
I did feel that it dragged quite a lot in places, but other than that I really enjoyed Unbecoming and will definitely be reading more from Jenny Downham soon.