Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

By: Alison Bechdel

Publication Date: 2006

Status: read

Location: Bookshelf One

Bechdel, Alison. Fun home.

I went into this graphic novel knowing next to nothing; I read it for my book club and all I knew was that Alison Bechdel is the namesake for the Bechdel Test. This book is far from fun…in fact the name derives from the family business, the fun(eral) home. However, I don’t read too many dark graphic novels, and I was fascinated by Bechdel’s memoir of her childhood and her grappling with her father and his hidden demons. There were moments where I thought that the language she used interrupted the flow of the narrative. Her vocabulary choice at times was too elevated for me to settle into her thoughts, and while this bothered me, I understand the use. This is her autobiography, and it would be dishonest to have the voice of the book be any other than her own. By the end, I actually shed some tears thinking about how tragic and unfulfilled a life her father must have led to not be able to be completely and utterly himself to his family and loved ones. I haven’t ever had to do anything as brave as coming out to family or even admitting a truth that large to myself, so I know that I can’t fully understand the immense journey that Bechdel went through or the complex struggles she had with her mother and father. However, Bechdel did an amazing job at explaining it. I really want to read more about her mother and their relationship; the small conversation they shared at the end of Fun Home made me thirsty for more from her. But this was clearly about Bechdel’s father, and her mother is another story. I’m eager for more from her, and I’m more than a little curious about the broadway musical.

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