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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 206 (next | show all)
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 |
One of the most fulfilling memoirs I've ever read, even though it only took about fourty-five minutes to read. ( )
  marthaearly | Jun 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (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.
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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)

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