Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Unbecoming is a story of three generations of women: Katie, Caroline and Mary.

Katie is the youngest - a teenage girl trying to understand her attraction to other girls, upset by the way her mother treats her.

Caroline has never had a relationship with her mother because of the fact that her mother gave her up when she was an infant, and let her sister raise her child.  

Mary is suffering from dementia. When her companion (boyfriend) dies and Mary is brought in to the hospital, they call Caroline to come in for her.  Mary has some lucid moments, but mostly she is living in a different time.

Mary's arrival in Caroline's home brings up some old feelings of anger for Caroline. She has never forgiven her mother for giving her up. It is Katie who relates well to her grandmother and is anxious to get to know her.  As she spends time with Mary, she uncovers much of Mary's story and what really happened when Mary gave birth to Caroline and gave her up.

I fell in love with this novel and the way Downham slowly revealed the story of Mary's life in bits and pieces.  I was unprepared for the fact that this is set in England, which works sometimes for me, but not others. In this case, it works well, and I loved Unbecoming.

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