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Becoming Unbecoming

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A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt

It’s 1977 and Una is 12. Other kids are into punk or ska, but Una is learning to play "Mull of Kintyre" by Wings on the guitar, and she thinks it’s a really good song. There's another song, chanted on the terraces by Leeds United fans. It might not have made it on to Top of the Pops, but the boys all sing it on the walk home from school: "One Yorkshire Ripper . . . There’s only one Yorkshire Ripper . . . One Yorkshire Ri-pper . . ."  A serial murderer is at large in West Yorkshire and the police—despite spending more than two million man-hours hunting the killer and interviewing the man himself no less than nine times—are struggling to solve the case. As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame. Unbecoming explores gender violence, blame, shame, and social responsibility. Through image and text Una asks what it means to grow up in a culture where male violence goes unpunished and unquestioned. With the benefit of hindsight Una explores her experience, wonders if anything has really changed and challenges a global culture that demands that the victims of violence pay its cost.

224 pages, Paperback

First published September 30, 2015

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