BECOMING UNBECOMING by Una
Kirkus Star

BECOMING UNBECOMING

by , illustrated by
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A graphic manifesto for female empowerment and a punch to the gut of predatory males.

The young, British female artist who has taken the name Una (“meaning One, one life, one of many”) recounts her years of coming-of-age when the Yorkshire Ripper rampaged as a serial killer of prostitutes (and other women he considered of dubious moral value) and seemed almost to serve as some sort of moral barometer in a country that had its own problems concerning female sexuality. During a time of slut shaming and victim blaming, which have hardly disappeared, a young woman coming-of-age with punk-rock rebellion and her own emerging sexual desires could feel conflicted and alone, as those victimized (as she was, more than once) could often feel before the internet would take that victimization viral. The author was told that “there was a problem and it was located in me,” that the source of her anxiety and depression might be better treated through psychological therapy than through legal redress for crimes that she, as the victim, felt afraid to confess. “So I became an unreliable witness and a perfect victim,” she writes. With a sensory overload of text and visual variety, readers share the unsettling feelings as the narrative expands to cast Una as an Everygirl who was not the shamed exception but actually more the norm. Two pages on how “We Can’t COUNT on the justice system,” followed by a visual representation of “The Ocean of Sexual Crime That Goes Unreported,” show just how pervasive the threat toward women has been. And when the Yorkshire Ripper was finally apprehended, everyone was surprised by what “an ordinary married man” he turned out to be and what “a lovely man” he’d seemed to his neighbors. The book concludes with a wordless coda, projections of the lives that might have been had the murderer not killed these women and disrupted these families.

A powerfully disturbing graphic narrative from an author with a lot to say and plenty of creative chops to say it provocatively.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-55152-653-9
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2016




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionLUCKY by Alice Sebold
by Alice Sebold
NonfictionTRANSFORMING A RAPE CULTURE by Emilie Buchwald
by Emilie Buchwald
NonfictionI AM NOT A SLUT by Leora Tanenbaum
by Leora Tanenbaum