From the best-selling author of “Fun Home”, Time magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be.
Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
The overall aspect that I found the most inspiring in this book was Alison’s unwavering bravery. She may have been struggling through many issues, she may have been conflicted as to how to approach things, but she never wavered about her resolution to write about her relationship with her mom. She just knew it was a story that needed to be told. This is also a difficult book to rate without comparing to her previous work. Frankly, it’s she made herself a tough act to follow.
Unlike “Fun Home”, I don’t think that “Are You My Mother?” was quite as well organized. It wavered between heavy psychoanalysis and personal insight, but only briefly touched on her mother. I think it would have been very difficult to follow if you hadn’t read “Fun Home”.
They’re both very ‘heavy’ books in tackling some intense topics, but I think “Are You My Mother?” was weighted down by the psychoanalysis at the detriment of the story. I still think this was a great book, but more of a story exploring how Alison came to terms with her relationship than about her mom.
Warning: Contains nudity
Rating: 4 stars!
Who should read it? Folks who have read “Fun Home” and want to continue the story.
Want to read the whole series?