UNBECOMING by Rebecca Scherm: A Review

This novel, published in 2015, opens in “a grubby antique shop in Paris, France, discussing the mysterious plight of Grace, the main character.  Whether she is the protagonist or not is up for grabs because all the way to the end of the book, I couldn’t decide if I liked her or was “on her side,” the traditional definition of the protagonist (the one we are “for” in the “struggle). She certainly isn’t an ordinary young woman, and she is petrified that her boyfriend and someone nicknamed “Alls” will soon be released from prison and come after her.  I vacillated between wondering if the boyfriend was abusive, and when I learned “Alls” was his best friend, or if the trio had been up to no good. Early on, we know a heist was carried out and that Grace is the only one who escaped to Paris under a false name and a false identity.

Scherm’s themes of fake vs. real gems, paintings, and people keep popping up, leading the reader to be confused and bemused at many parts in the story as the author takes a harsh look at her rather unlikeable main character. Will this not-your-basically-good young woman succeed? Will the “bad-guys” win for a change? How in the world will the novel end? Scherm deals with all of these questions admirably, and although I kept waiting for Grace to change and redeem herself, she does not, and even so, I kept turning the pages to read more.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

2 thoughts on “UNBECOMING by Rebecca Scherm: A Review”

    1. Paris isn’t much of a focus in this one, and no, it’s not really a thriller either. It’s psychological and convoluted. I’m not sure how or even why I read it all the way to the end.


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