Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
Three women - three secrets - one heart-stopping story.Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can't reveal.Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her.Katie's grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and 'capable of anything', despite suffering from Alzheimers.As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is 'badness' genetic?In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love.Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories
This book is so good. I suspected it would be before I started it and just knew after the first page it was going to be as wonderful as I'd hoped.
Unbecoming is the story of Mary, Caroline and Katie and starts when Caroline and her daughter Katie are contacted by the hospital to collect Caroline's mother Mary. Caroline is not happy about this having not seen much of her mother over the years due to an incredibly rocky relationship with the woman her gave her up to be brought up by her aunt when she was a baby. It is clear from the outset that Mary has Alzheimers and Caroline is forced to take her into her home.
As you can imagine the welcome Mary gets from her daughter is not a warm one and it ends up being Katie who makes the effort and spends time with Mary and helping her to remember things on a day to day basis. Trouble is the more Mary remember the more it uncovers about the past which Caroline wanted to keep buried.
I really enjoyed seeing the differing relationships between the three generations of the family. I also thought this book showcased the heartbreaking way in which Alzheimers can rob everything for someone the more it progresses. Seeing the world from Mary's view made you really feel for how much she was losing.
All in all a wonderful book about family