Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) by Alison Bechdel is a memoir in graphic novel form, a somewhat new format for me. While I love the Sunday comics, I've never been much of a graphic novel person - I sometimes find them to be visually overwhelming, like my eyes don't know where to look. Luckily, this book was arranged in a way that was very easy to follow.

I didn't know much about Bechdel before reading this book, in fact had not even realized that the now-famous Bechdel test was named after someone contemporary. The story itself is of her somewhat chaotic childhood and early adulthood, dealing with her father's mental health and identity issues as well as her own.

She grew up in quite a dysfunctional household, and I admire the way in which she writes and draws these events from her past in what seems to be a very truthful way, and even with some humor. I liked the foundation of classic literature, as something she and her dad connected over and a framework she used to make sense of her somewhat troubled past. Also interesting was the perspective of coming out as a lesbian in late 70s/early 80s. Fair warning: a few small scenes put the 'graphic' in graphic novel.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed learning about the very interesting Alison Bechdel, having a very quick read that still gave me great insight into a particular place and time, and getting a very easy introduction to the world of graphic novels. I'm excited to get into many more in the future!

"I employ these allusions to James and Fitzgerald not only as descriptive devices, but because my parents are most real to me in fictional terms."
Keep reading! Beth

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