HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison…
Loading...

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alison Bechdel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7734911,948 (3.73)72
Member:Tafadhali
Title:Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama
Authors:Alison Bechdel
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:comics, (auto)biography, american, 21st century, read, read: 2012

Work details

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel (2012)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 72 mentions

English (48)  Danish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
(Originally posted at https://bigpapageek.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/book-review-are-you-my-mother-by-alison-bechdel/ )

It is no exaggeration to say that Allison Bechdel is an unqualified master of sequential art (known colloquially as comics or graphic novels).

Her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, is widely considered a landmark achievement in comics, not only for it's long-running nature (1983-2008), but also for it's humanizing, empathetic and honest portrayal of the LGBTQ community. Her first full length work, the graphic memoir Fun Home, was instantly hailed as a modern classic, one of the best books of the 2000's, and was Time Magazine's 2006 Book of the Year.

In 2011, I wrote,

"Calling this a "triumph of the form" would be an understatement. Absolutely stunning, deeply literate, suffused with melancholy and loss but also full of joy and humor. It deserved every honor it received."

In addition to these honors, she is also a MacArthur Fellow, and is the originator of The Bechdel Test.

Put simply, Alison Bechdel is one of my favorite authors, and her most recent work, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, only confirms that.

Whereas Fun Home dealt primarily with Bechdel's troubled relationship with her father (a conflicted, closeted gay man who ran the local funeral home), in Are You My Mother, Bechdel tackles the somewhat more thorny topic of her relationship with her mother. Released in May, 2012, Are You My Mother deals primarily with period of time during which Bechdel wrote Fun Home, but take numerous digressions into her past romantic relationships, her childhood, her therapy session, her parent's courtship and early marriage (seen primarily in letters), and even into her dreams.

And as in Fun Home, Bechdel's observations and reflections are also filtered through a number of literary and psychological filters.

Chief amongst these are Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse and various letters, the lives and writings of the psychoanalysts Donald Winnicott and Alice Miller, and the works of Sigmund Freud. I'll be the first to admit, I haven't read any of the the works she references, but she integrates them so smoothly into her narrative that this never became an issue. Key to this integration is Bechdel's skill as an artist, draftsman (draftswoman?), and graphic storyteller.


This panel is just one example of how Bechdel balances multiple layers of meaning, symbolism and narrative, with all the elements lending additional texture and significance to the others. This juxtaposition of image and text is unique to to the comics format, and Bechdel uses it to stunning effect, as seen again in this dense, and ultimately haunting two page splash.


To be honest, the act of reading Are You My Mother was more than a little overwhelming, due to the density of the imagery and the weight of it's themes. But this in no way diminishes the value and power of the work itself. My guess is that I will return to it again and again, and that it will continue to reveal new riches each time I do.

What graphic novel has affected you the most? ( )
  bigpapageek | Feb 28, 2015 |
Less accessible than it's predecessor "Fun Home", Bechdel's "Are You My Mother" is still achingly beautiful. This second memoir, focused on her relationship with her mother, digs deeper into her own psyche(through therapy) as well as the work of Virginia Wolfe and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. It is this larger examination which to some extent distances us from intimacy of the narrative and yet it is intrinsic to the journey. I highly recommend reading "Fun Home" before delving into this book but by all means, read them both. ( )
  laurustina | Jan 14, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book very much. Bechdel brings in the work of psychotherapist and writer Donald Winnicott as a foundation to her understanding of her and her mother's relationship, as it is through their lifelong process of separation that Bechdel expresses seeing herself and her mother both become complete individuals, each a subject in her own right. The positive conversation at the conclusion of the book between the two (they are talking about the very book the reader has nearly completed) is warm and encouraging. ( )
  NatalieSW | Jan 1, 2015 |


I found this quite disappointing. Lots of verbatim quotes from psychoanalytic theory and transcribed conversations with her mother and not much plain storytelling. I fid love the glimpses into her life that I recognized from where she had previously used them in Dykes to Watch Out For. All in all, though, I think she's too blocked to write a good story about her mother yet. Maybe she can't do it while her mother is still alive. And I didn't find the metastory about being blocked sufficiently engaging. ( )
  AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
Probably not fair to compare them, but I can't help it. I didn't like this one as much as Fun Home. It was a lot more wordy and cerebral, and I admit that I just didn't understand a lot of the psychological terminology she used to tell the story. Also I read To The Lighthouse a few years ago and for me it was eh, so I didn't have that connection. I mean, I got the main point - and it was very poignant for me - that her mother just didn't have love to give and Alison figured out early that the best thing she could do was to not need anything. That's pretty much my relationship with my mother, so it meant a lot to me, but in some ways it was a simpler and less interesting story. ( )
  piemouth | Jun 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
"For nothing was simply one thing." ~ Virginia Woolf
Dedication
For my mother, who knows who she is.
First words
While engaged in some sort of home-improvement project, I inadvertently block my exit from a dank cellar.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618982507, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:54 -0400)

Alison Bechdels 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 Bechdels own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Motherto a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
133 wanted3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.73)
0.5
1 4
1.5 2
2 16
2.5 12
3 72
3.5 18
4 102
4.5 8
5 63

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,197,760 books! | Top bar: Always visible