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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006)

by Alison Bechdel

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6,5763261,087 (4.18)549
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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» See also 549 mentions

English (313)  Danish (3)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (325)
Showing 1-5 of 313 (next | show all)
This memoir can probably best be described as a spiral, where the story turns in on itself, then jumps back out to a previous point on the spiral, then turns back in towards the center. The narrative structure is so good, giving the reader glimpses of the future, then going back to the past, then winding back to the future with new knowledge about what brought us here, then ultimately tightening everything down to a conclusion.

Really great book. Great illustrations, great understanding of both storytelling and the medium of comics. ( )
  evenlake | Mar 23, 2021 |
I loved it. It starts as an emotionally intense look at what it's like to live in an emotionally abusive household, and then uses other literature as a lens for Bechdel to examine and re-examine and re-examine her life and her father's life. Which is, of course, a way the book invites itself to be used. That's how I used it, at least. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
Fun Home is a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. Bechdel grew up in Pennsylvania where her family ran a funeral home they called the Fun House. Her family was a bit dysfunctional and the memoir focuses on her relationship with her father, who was a closeted gay man who had affairs with young men, and her realization that she was a lesbian. While the book dealt with some deep, dark issues, the book did have a touch of humor to break up the serious topics. It presented some complicated family relationships in a manner that was not trivialized due to the format. It is a great example of the genre of graphic memoirs. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 24, 2021 |
excellent art and vocabulary that mirror the family. portrait of a family that has artifice and bubbling underneath is tragedy waiting to happen and a discovery to be made. ( )
  kevix | Dec 28, 2020 |
Really interesting and honest memoir. I think the openness of it attracted me the most, more than the story or artwork; it just felt raw and unflinching. Much more literary than expected; at one point, Bechdel uses Ulysses as to mirror her own story. I also really appreciate how Bechdel acknowledges that this is her truth, not absolute truth (always an important point in memoirs). I just didn't connect as much as I felt like the story demanded; it felt cold, clinical, detached. Maybe that was the point, but it wasn't a pleasant experience in the end. ( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 313 (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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Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

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Book description
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.
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