Unbecoming is a heartwarming story about three women of three generations. Katie, a teenager currently going through exams and dealing with a betrayal of her best friend. Caroline - Katie's mother - who is fed up, struggling to keep the family together after her husband leaves her and trying to manage her young son's learning disability. Finally, Mary - Katie's grandmother who has been left in Caroline's care despite the fact she abandoned her when she was a baby. Mary has Alzheimer's and after the recent death of her boyfriend, she is thrust into Caroline and Katie's life and the story unfolds the present and the past in a heartwarming way that will have you turning page after page.
This book was a hard read for me personally, as my grandmother is currently in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's so it's a touchy subject for me. However, I felt this book handled the topic very well and portrayed the illness in a realistic and honest way. Whilst this story is classed as Young Adult, it felt so much more adult. This book is an excellent example of literary fiction and the prose is perfect for readers of all ages.On the surface, this is a story about the characters and their lives, but if you look deeper there are messages about how women live their lives today compared to when Mary was young. Downham has a rich way of storytelling that is lovely to read, I will definitely be reading more of her work in the future.