Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel
published by Houghton Mifflin Co.
genre: adult, Autobiography, Graphic Novel,
Summary (Goodreads): A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, 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 his 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.
My Thoughts: I will start by saying that Memoirs/Autobiographies are not something that I read on a normal basis. I have picked up a few in graphic novel form and enjoyed them more. I kept seeing this one around on everyone's list of must reads and decided to give it a try.
Unfortunately, it did not work for me. I found it to be very boring and had to force myself to finish it. There was nothing really here that made me care about the author's story. Everything was a reference to something else. A classic book (I skipped the inserted passages after the first couple) to dictionary words. I just didn't find it engaging. I kept waiting for whatever it was that everyone else loved about this book and it didn't happen for me.
Overall, this was just not for me. Whether it was the genre, the art, the way the author told her story none of it worked.