In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.
Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
“Fun Home” is a graphic novel that I greedily consumed in one sitting, but will be re-reading soon as I know there was a lot I missed. There is a ton packed into this book. There are references to classics and modern books I need to revisit, historical events, gender stereotypes, psychology, family dynamics, small town influences and so much more. If you only read the book, it would be impressive. The matching illustrations elevated the book to a work of art and a rich storytelling experience.
Through exploring the relationship with her father, Bechdel also integrates her uncomfortable coming of age story that was carefully documented in a series of journals. In many ways, Bechdel shares with us a truer story than most of us could share due to this unflinching documentation and dissertation of day-to-day events. I would highly recommend this to fans of unusual memoirs whether you have typically read graphic novels or not.
Rating: 5 stars!
Who should read it? Fans of memoirs, discussion of LGBT psyche, coming of age or anyone who had a classic book that changed the course of their life.