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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison…

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006)

by Alison Bechdel

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Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
I have wanted to read this graphic novel for a long time. It just sounded so interesting and it was very interesting. It’s incredibly well done, very funny, emotionally engaging, and full of interesting literary references.

This is an autobiographical novel by Bechdel and it was incredibly engaging and well done. Alison lives with her interior decorating obsessed father. Her father is also manic-depressive and a closet gay man. As you can imagine the marriage between Alison’s father and mother is very strained. To add to the macabre humor of it all Alison’s father owns and runs a funeral home which they call the “Fun Home”.

The book bounces between a number of times in Alison’s life. From when she was a child to an adult and back to a child. It is mainly told as a reflection of her growing up with her father after she hears about his death. She thinks about the many things she saw him doing as a child that she didn’t really understand until she got older.

Woven through all of this story is Alison’s own realization that she is a lesbian and what that confession did (or didn’t do) to her family. You get to watch as Alison’s dad struggles to form her into the perfect girl that he could never be (and Alison never wanted to be) and as Alison’s dad sneaks off for secret liaisons with other men.

The story takes place in a rural and very non-tolerant town in Pennsylvania mainly in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Bits and pieces of the history of era are woven throughout the story.

Alison’s father also had a deep love for literature, which Alison herself develops as she gets older. This provides a bridge between Alison and her father, we also get to read a lot of literature references throughout the story that have meaning to our characters’ lives.

This is a book that is easy to read and at first seems a bit meandering, but it is also incredibly thought-provoking. It does an excellent job of making you look on and reflect on your own life. I especially enjoyed how the characters’ feelings for each other ebb and flow and they go from understanding and relating to each other to hating each other. The whole thing just captures family dynamics very well (if a bit more dramatically than most families).

The drawing throughout is very well done. It’s a fairly simple style interspersed with some very detailed lifelike drawings. I pretty much read the whole book in one sitting and loved the way it ended.

This is one of those very complex and emotional novels that will make you laugh, cry, wonder and consider how society influences relationships. It’s very masterfully done and was impossible to put down.

Overall a very masterfully done graphic novel autobiography. Really I have never read anything like this before. I highly recommend it. I would recommend for older teen or adult only, there are some graphic sex scenes and discussion about sex. I bet this is one of those books they are recommending for GLBT classes in college...there is just so much in here to discuss and think about. ( )
  krau0098 | Jul 27, 2014 |
I'm not exactly sure what to make of this book. On one hand, I find the narrator incredibly annoying. Throughout the novel, the reader is assaulted by literary references: Joyce, Proust, Fitzgerald among others. Although the narrator states that she understands her parents better through literature, often the descriptions seem forced or dry or too undeveloped (despite the wordiness of these pages) to be interesting. However, when Bechdel focuses on actual interactions between her family members, such as when her father sends her to change for not having matching necklines, the scenes about her missing hair barrette, or the conversation they have about a book her father loaned her, the book is incredibly moving. It's impossible not to ache for all of the characters. I dislike the way Bechdel tries to force her characters to fit the molds of fictional characters when her characters are so much more compelling as their own people. ( )
  EEDevore | Jul 8, 2014 |
Culturally we seem to hold this idea that both comics and stories about young people are necessarily intended for a young audience. Fun Home shows us how false this thinking is. In Fun Home, we get to see a young character (Alison) who embraces her identity (and sexuality) and comes out to her parents while still a teenager. That’s contrasted with an older character (Bechdel’s father) who, because of the time he grew up in, doesn’t have that option. Bruce is pushed by his culture to marry someone who seems to fit the mould of what he thinks (or what society thinks) a relationship is supposed to look like. The decades of repression and internalize homophobia lead to grossly inappropriate behaviors. Alison and Bruce stand in stark contrast to one another, a chilling example of an older generation’s way of thinking giving way to that of a new one.
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  MCHBurke | Jul 7, 2014 |
This graphic novel was suggested to me by a friend who said her book club had read it. I'm sure it would have provoked a lot of discussion. Alison Bechdel has pulled the covers off her family secrets and you have to admire her guts. I'm sure I wouldn't have the nerve to do this and I doubt my family would talk to me after if I did.

The title comes from what Alison and her siblings called the family business which was a funeral home. That alone would provide plenty of material for a book but throw in a father who restores old buildings and decorates them to the nines who is also an English teacher and a closeted gay man and you have a barn burner of a book. And then... but I'll let you find out what else happens. There is also some very interesting discussion about English literature, especially James Joyce, which makes me wish I had managed to finish at least one of Joyce's books.

The drawing style is detailed and vivid and enhances the written words.

Recommended. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jul 6, 2014 |
Complicated, dense, fascinating memoir of growing up in a dysfunctional family with unhappy parents. Her father was apparently gay, but closeted, and seems to have been manic depressive. Bechdel describes her own childhood neuroses and her eventual coming out, and wonders if that triggered her father's death, which could have been a suicide. I read Dykes to Watch Out For for years (when I lived where I could pick up papers that carried it) and already loved her drawings but this is on a whole other level as she finds connections between various family events, literature, her own coming out, gay history, and more. ( )
1 vote piemouth | Jun 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Bechdel’s style is straightforward. Her detailed drawings strive to present what she remembers accurately and with detail. The book is black-and-white with a blue-grey watercolor wash that provides depth and adds to the feeling of memory.
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For Mom, Christian, and John.

We did have a lot of fun, in spite of everything.
First words
Like many fathers, mine could occasionally be prevailed on for a spot of "airplane."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618871713, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned 'fun home, ' as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.--From publisher description.… (more)

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