Title: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Author: Alison Bechdel
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin 2006
Genre: Graphic Novel; Memoir
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Graphic Novel; Women Authors; Bingo - 5 from TBR
How I Got It: Library loan
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.
Going in, I didn't really know what to expect from this novel. I was expecting a straight forward memoir, but instead got a wonderful mix of literary insight and family memories. Following Bechdel's narrative feels almost like an intrusion on her private self. She bares all as we move from her early childhood to ruminations on sexuality and the complexities of family and identity. In many ways, it reminded me of Persepolis. Instead of making an entertaining version of life, the reader gets an honest brutal look at life and growing up. Definitely a powerful read.