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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison…
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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006)

by Alison Bechdel

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4,1972341,190 (4.2)363
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English (225)  French (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
This is a very different kind of book, and the first graphic memoir that I have read. It tends to flow nicely, and the story is engrossing at times. Yet, I did not feel as though there was much insight gained. Overall, I could have taken or left it. Yet, there is quite a bit of depth to it regarding human sexuality and self-discovery. ( )
  TiffanyAK | May 1, 2015 |
Interestingly enough, I have never had the occasion to read Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel's arguably more famous work. I picked up Fun Home based on her reputation, however, and was immediately absorbed.

Fun Home is a painfully intimate look at Bechdel's father, and, I think more importantly, of her fraught relationship with him. There are no easy answers or waxing nostalgic in this piece, but a realistic look at a father-daughter relationship. At one point, her father, who is gay, recommends a book to her that delves heavily into homosexuality; Bechdel, also gay, once attempts to open a dialogue with him at this intersection of interests, but there is a generational barrier that she cannot quite overcome. Far from being what binds them together, they find that there is a wall between them that pushes them apart.

With intelligence and often brutal truth, Bechdel seamlessly quotes Proust and Joyce, drawing parallels between her intellectual education and her own maturation and exploration of her sexuality.

There is a conflation of gender performance and sexuality which, while perfectly acceptable, is not always true, and it is important to remember that this is a personal account of Bechdel and her father, and drawing generalizations from one person's biography and autobiography would be dangerous.

The art itself, while never quite reaching any transcendent beauty, is beyond serviceable, and often reveals more than the words themselves. The very cover shows her father and Bechdel sitting on the porch together, a close family portrait. Closer inspection, however, reveals that he is looking away from her and nowhere do they touch: a physical representation of the distance of their relationship.

Bechdel is honest, ruthless, but never bitter, as would be too easy to devolve into with an account such as hers, and while her realism often fades into what feel somewhat like flights of fancy regarding the parallels between her own life and the literary influences surrounding her, her prose is so well-written that it is hard to find fault. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
First read June 2011, second January 2014 ( )
  winedrunksea | Mar 28, 2015 |
To be honest, I picked Fun Home up simply because I needed a book with a LGBTQ character for Bingo and this book fit. An in depth memoir of Alison Bechtel’s early years, this book made me feel rather sad. Growing up with disturbed and rather removed parents, her life seemed to be played out in various shades of grey, not much color or excitement to speak of. Although Alison eventually “came out” to her parents, this was far from the focus of the story. Her father at that time was dealing with the fact that his wife had asked for a divorce and his own poorly concealed homosexuality. Her mother seems to be very self-centered and turn everything back into how it affected her.

I found myself rather irritated with both the stories and the characters. I feel like the uncool kid that doesn’t get it, but this book left me feeling rather depressed, sad and blah. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jan 31, 2015 |
Ever since I read a snippet of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 I've wanted to read the whole thing. And now, years later, I finally got around to it. I'm sorry I waited so long. The moments of deadpan hilarity are perfectly balanced with the moments of isolated desperation. I don't know if Alison Bechdel was that well-known before its publication, but she's certainly earned her celebrity status since then. In fact, as I write this, I've just learned that not only has the stage production of Fun Home opened on Broadway but it's also been nominated for 12 Tony awards.

I have a 2-rule maxim for comics: (1) Great writing can carry not-so-great artwork while great artwork cannot do the same—not even close—for lackluster writing. And (2) the quality and style of the artwork has to emotionally match the tone of the story. Fun Home hits these marks and more.

I know nothing of Bechdel's past other than what's portrayed here. I sense she was working through a few skeletons while writing Fun Home, like she was trying to make sense of what happened with the benefit of several decades of hindsight. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Jan 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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."
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(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)

» see all 3 descriptions

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