Becoming Unbecoming

myfriend   ethel   becoming   secret

I’m not a huge graphic novel fan. They’re really not my thing.

To date, I have read two graphic novels. Yup, that’s a whole big two of them. I’ve previously read  Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs which I found utterly charming. And also one recommended  by a former WPL staff person, My friend Dahmer, by Derf Backderf. The author knew the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in high school and writes a pretty interesting account of him.

So this brings me to my third graphic novel, Becoming unbecoming, by Una. It’s easy to say what it’s about—sexual violence against women—but it’s a lot harder to describe or categorize.

The author presents her own story of being sexually assaulted as a young girl and the varying emotions she felt. The Yorkshire Ripper also comes into the story, as he was at large at the same time and place where Una grew up (northern England in the 1970s).

Also thrown into the mix are stats on sexual violence, various musings and some pretty pointed questions (for instance, why does it take so many women to bring sexual assault charges against one man before they are believed. Yes, Bill Cosby, she’s talking about you.)

I really like the way Una ends the book. She does a drawing of each one of the Yorkshire Ripper’s 13 female victims, imagining what they would be doing now if still alive. All too often it seems we focus on the killer and forget the victims.

 Becoming Unbecoming is an interesting and powerful read. Hmm, maybe time to revise my opinion of graphic novels.

I just want to add that I have a hold on another graphic novel, Secret Path, by Gordon Downie (of the Tragically Hip) and Jeff Lemire. It’s a true, but unbearably sad, story about a 12-year-old native Canadian boy.

– – Penny D.