Friday, February 12, 2010

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a memoir done in the form of a graphic novel. Its written and drawn by Alison Bechdel who is also the brain behind series such as Dykes To Watch Out For. I am not all that familiar with GLBT-literature, but have read some books which can be "labelled" as such. Bechdel is lesbian, and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is about realising this and coming out, but it is definitely also about much more, and while homosexuality can be said to form the core and back bone of the story, the main theme is the relationship between parents and their children, in this case the relationship between Alison and first and foremost her father, but also her mother.

Alison grows up with seriously distant parents living in a less than happy marriage, both her mother and father somewhat desilluisioned. Her father is working as an English teacher, her mother is writing an academic thesis and also trying to form a local career as an actress.Alison's father is mainly interested in literature and architecture and spends most of his free time reading and decorating their house in various styles. In between this he and the family also own a funeral home, in short The Fun Home. We follow Alison from her earliest years and until she is around 20 years old and away at college. All the way through her childhood she keeps a diary. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic use a lot of Alison's early diary-material, but seen from the wiser and grown up Alison's viewpoint. The novel is full of literary knowledge, and while the story as a whole is rather dark, there is a definite and clear current of humor and irony running underneath the sadness throughout the story.

Bechdel's drawings are pieces of art, and she is also a great writer. I really liked this story and recommend it highly. I have read it as part of the Women Unboun Reading Challege, which you can read more about here.


Aarti said...

I read this one late last year and enjoyed it more for the literary references than the (very dark) story. It was so high-brow and added a lot of books to my wish list!

Vivienne said...

Fancy us both reviewing it on the same day. What are the chances of that. Great review.

Beth F said...

Great review indeed. It sounds like the memoir brings up a lot of important issues. I'll have to track it down.

farmlanebooks said...

I loved Fun Home too! It was my first graphic novel and has led me to enjoy many more. It is good to know that you enjoyed it too.