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review 2016-02-29 15:11
Unbecoming: A Novel - Rebecca Scherm

A book created in a lab for me:

A nice Southern girl struggles with fitting in when she moves to NYC, becomes both knowledgeable and cynical about art

So much art history, so much

This is a suspenseful book, you're always tensed up waiting for another shoe to drop

Elaborate, almost implausible heist plans!

More art history? How about lots of minutely detailed descriptions of furniture and jewelry!

 

In short, it's an art history mystery that also makes some very sharp observations about cultural and class differences, about family and romantic relationships, and about the muddiness of ethics. I drank it up. 

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review 2015-06-05 18:54
Unbecoming
Unbecoming: A Novel - Rebecca Scherm

 

 

Unbecoming

 

 

Rebecca Scherm, 2015

 

In a small repair shop in Paris, Julie – originally from California – mends antiques and resets gems in jewelry. She’s paid off the books and is pretty sure that her boss is using her to steal from her clients. But none of that matters. Because Julie is really Grace, from small-town Tennessee, and she’s on the run. She stole a two million dollar painting from a historical house in her hometown, which set off a chain of events that ended with her husband and her lover being arrested as she left the country with the painting. But now the two men have been paroled, and she’s sure that, despite hiding from her past ever since the theft, that they’re going to find her and make her pay for what she did.

 

 

I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. On one hand, it had an interesting plot and an interesting lead character. On the other hand, the plot seemed to drag at times (to the point where this book took me much longer to read than it should have) and the lead character was really unlikable. In the end, I’ve decided that I liked it, but that it could have really been a lot better.

 

The plot was probably the best part of this book – we know from the beginning that Grace has done something really bad and is on the run in Paris. We are then taken back to her life as a teenager in Garland to fill in the blanks. Watching the events unfold, knowing the eventual outcome, was actually a lot of fun. There were times when the plot dragged a bit – mostly (for me) when the book was focusing on Grace and Riley’s relationship. I get that we needed to see how dysfunctional the situation was in order to understand how she could walk away from it, but I think I just really hated reading about Riley.

 

Which is where the biggest problem (again, for me) came in: I hated both Alls and Riley (aka, the lover and the husband). I didn’t like either of them. I thought Riley was a lame pushover with no dimension whatsoever, and therefore found it hard to understand how she could have fallen in love with him in the first place. But at the same time, Alls was just so bland. Aside from being attractive and from her just wanting to be with someone other than Riley, I couldn’t figure out what drew Grace to him at all. Because of this (without giving anything away) I was not a fan of the ending. I just didn’t understand why Grace would do what she did, unless she herself was just a horrible person… But that’s the other thing. Grace really was kind of a horrible person. Forget trying to figure out what she saw in Riley or Alls – what did they see in her?

 

The one saving grace (no pun intended) to the characters is that, despite being a horrible person (or maybe because of it?), Grace was interesting. It was easy to follow her story because she was a surprisingly complex character. I kind of enjoyed reading about how she manipulated someone or screwed someone over, and I also liked reading about her getting her dues for it. The book stayed interesting, even with its flaws.

 

Overall, I think this could have been a better book. It’s obvious that its a debut novel, but I think that the author has a lot of potential. She’s decent at writing main characters, although her side characters need a little more depth in order to be interesting. And she has an ability to make a book very readable, even when it isn’t perfect. It’s a decent low-key heist thriller, if you’re looking for something like that, but if you’re someone who needs to find something likable in your main characters, you might have issues with this one.

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review 2015-01-26 19:14
Unbecoming: A Novel - Rebecca Scherm

Thanks Penguin Group and Net Galley for a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

I spent the first part of this book wondering what the heck it was about. My roommate, on a smoke break during reading, asked me "what are you reading now?" And I truly said I don't know. However at the next smoke break I couldn't say enough good things about the book. So, it has a slow start, but once it gets going, it goes.

The story kind if reminded me of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. Not sure why, if it's just the fact that a picture plays a big role or the way the author handled the characters.

In a nutshell it's a story about young love, kleptomania, living a lie and true love. A story that definitely kept me entertained on a dreary winter day.

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text 2015-01-23 03:11
Unbecoming
Unbecoming: A Novel - Rebecca Scherm

Unbecoming, the debut novel by Rebecca Scherm, is a psychological study of Grace aka Julie, a child growing up into a rather unbecoming adult - one who takes on personas (becoming and “un-becoming”) as the situation warrants. It is the story of a small town, a robbery, friendships, and betrayals. The book starts slow but builds its pace towards the end.

 

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/01/unbecoming.html

 

Reviewed based on a copy received through a publisher’s giveaway

 

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/01/unbecoming.html
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review 2014-12-30 03:55
Unbecoming
Unbecoming: A Novel - Rebecca Scherm

By: Rebecca Scherm
ISBN: 9780525427506
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Viking
Publication Date: 1/27/2015
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

A special thank you to PENGUIN GROUP Viking and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rebecca Scherm’s debut UNBECOMING follows a southern gal from Tennessee to Paris, a flawed and complex young woman on the run, a new name, a new identity, always looking over her shoulder for two men she has known a lifetime. A psychological thriller of love, international art crime, and deception.

Grace grew up in southern Tennessee; however, now she is now a professional international jewel thief. (this girl gets around). A lot to tell in between with flashbacks from point A to B. A good girl, gone bad. Leaving a small town to establish her own identity, for New York where she learns a few tricks and becomes interested in the world of art; learning how to lie, deceive, and pretend she is someone else.

Grace, Riley and Allston grew up together as friends. Riley was the wealthy one as son of a doctor, and Allston grew up hard without money or a mother. Grace was not happy at home and she envied Riley’s family as they were cultured, and glamorous to her, developing a bond especially with Riley’s mom with a longing and obsession to have this life.

Presently, her husband, Riley and her former lover, Allston have been released from a Tennessee prison and she knows they will come after her. She has not been in touch with either of them since the arrest for a robbery—Grace was the mastermind behind the heist, before taking off for Europe with a stolen painting. Now in Paris (with a new identify, Julie) she works as a restorer of antiques, but what really makes her happy? What is she really seeking?

The book takes readers on a journey of a teen who goes from one personality to another, an exploration of sorts with flashbacks with Grace. A love triangle - Both guys in her life have done jail time for an antiques theft she planned; now she is sure they are hunting her. Grace of course has no ties from anyone in her former life – will they find her?

Even though the novel had a good set up, somewhere along the way, it lost momentum for me as a true psycho-thriller, as could have been more twisted, but there again, I did not care for Gone Girl; however, do not think the two compare. I did not feel a real connection with the characters; however agree with some of the other reviewers, enjoyed the story of Grace more so than Julie. However, some really good writing--so struggling with the rating as was not in love with the entire story.

UNBECOMING is a realistic view of trying to reinvent oneself, attempting to overcome a past; and when trying to do so, gets caught up in greed and loses themselves, their true self. Ultimately, they feel inappropriate or acceptable. Yes, was a little surprised at the ending being all wrapped up neatly.

However, would recommend reading as each person of course has a different perspective and takeaway—look forward to reading more from this author!.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1117120585
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