Becoming Unbecoming by Una
Published by Myriad Editions on December 1st, 2015
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Becoming Unbecoming is the beautifully sketched and watercolored, (mostly) black and white graphic memoir of the artist Una. The book brilliantly parallels Una’s adolescence, which is marked by sexual violence and shame, with the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. The pairing is less strange than it sounds, as the serial killer terrorized Una’s town for years and caused ripples in her life while the Yorkshire police failed to connect the dots leading to his identity. A memoir, a history, a piece of art, and a fact-filled takedown of rape culture, Becoming Unbecoming is incredibly ambitious and unique. I can’t recommend it enough.
This rarely happens with my Read This, Watch That recommendations, but I actually started Becoming Unbecoming while watching Happy Valley’s second season. My UK geography is rusty, but I recognized several of the show’s locations on a map early in the book and realized they share a West Yorkshire setting. Location is just the start of the parallels and, though it’s best to discover them yourself in a show like this, the way Happy Valley handles them is what makes the show so brilliant. Created and written by Sally Wainwright, Happy Valley shifts the perspective of the usual crime drama and stands out in its ability to address violence against women without making it the suspenseful driver of plot.