Age group: Teens
Author: Jenny Downham
Jenny Downham’s book ‘Before I die’ is still one of my all time most rememberable books. I absolutely loved the depth and devastating normality she touched upon in her story telling of an average girl with dysfunctional parents and a little brother to look after.. Oh and she has cancer.. When I walked into Waterstones and saw this book I grabbed a copy and paid before I even realised it was signed by the author! (A pretty awesome perk!)
The title ‘unbecoming’ had me elated to start reading. I soon discovered this book was about Katie, a good and responsible teenage girl with an younger brother and an over protective mother. Katie’s small world of rules and regulations starts unraveling when she is tasked with caring for her grandmother Mary suffering from dementia. Intrigued by Mary’s defiance for rules and elating stories from her past Katie starts writing down Mary’s recollections so she can read them to Mary when the last of her memories escapes her. With a mother who wants Mary out of her way and off her hands and isolation from any real friends at school, Katie clings to Mary, her strength and her charm like she might die without her.
Unfortunately aside from a few fleeting powerful moments I felt this book flavourless, bland and dragged out. What had the potential to be a brilliant story just felt like it dragged on forever without any real direction. This 437 page book was simply too long winded for the story it was telling. Sorry Jenny but it seems like the title was the best part!
I give this book 1.5 stars