Friday, April 03, 2009

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Books Completed: 77
Completion Date: March, 2009
Pages: 232
Publication Date: April 18, 2009

Reason for Reading: Graphic Novel Challenge, New Author Challenge
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.
Chris, Nymeth, and Vasilly all wanted to hear my thoughts on this book, so here goes!

It is sort of fitting Nymeth wanted to hear my thoughts because she was actually one of the reasons why I added this book to my wish list! The reason that I own it, though, is because I won it from the New Author Challenge hosted by Literary Escapism.

Vasilly asked two questions:

What did you think of Fun Home?

- When I read books like this I am always left wondering: What is wrong with the human race that people can write such depressing and revealing accounts of themselves and people flock to the bookstores to buy them? Does it make us feel better because we can always find an aspect of their life that is worse than ours? And, along the same lines, what makes people write such revealing books about themselves? Is it for their five minutes of fame, or some deep psychological issues? Like, really, why did I find myself reading a book about some random woman that created a graphic novel about her childhood, her relationship with her parents, her fathers' sexuality, her sexuality, and on and on... What is it about our culture that we need to tell everyone everything? Even if we are not writing books about it, look at the popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter, or one of the various blogging programs. I write a post and I might say something about my personal life, several people read it and comment on it... But, why? What has changed in even the last ten years that people feel the need to be so impersonal. To hang their 'dirty laundry' out for everyone to see... It boggles the mind, really...

As to the actual question, I am not really sure what I thought about this book. I have actually being staring at the question for a few minutes trying to decide what I wanted to say. (That and my computer fan is making a weird noise that is just about driving me crazy!) The truth is, I remember what the book is about and I remember what happens in it, but I don't think the book is going to have a lasting effect on me. It was good. It was just not fantastic. I didn't find myself caring for the characters, it was more like I was just reading the book to read the book. I hate saying stuff like that because I am really not heartless... Anyway, this book is about Alison and her slightly dysfunctional family, but then, aren't most families dysfunctional nowadays? Okay, I did like this book, don't get me wrong!

Have u read any strips from Bechdel's "Dykes to Watch For" series?

-This answer is easy: Nope! Not because I don't want to, but because I never thought about actually doing it.

Not one of my better reviews... Did I mention the noise my computer is making is driving me crazy? I am going to go see if I can find some air and maybe that will shut it up!


  1. I e-mailed you my question about this one too late, ooops :P Don't worry, we won't think you're heartless. Sometimes a book just doesn't click.

    And memoirs are tricky that way...I think that the act of writing is always personal, but in fiction you can change things, disguise them, reinvent them altogether and leave only the emotional it gives you more distance, and more privacy. A memoir is totally naked,'s a bit weird to think of that.

    That fan noise does sound annoying :/

  2. I love memoirs but after a while I RUN to fiction. It can get tiring reading about someone's dysfunctional life. I think to write a memoirs is to let others know "I'm here and you're not the only one who went through it."

    On the other hand you cannot PAY, BLACKMAIL, OR BRIBE me to read "The Kiss" by Katherine Harrison. Incest between father and daughter? =(

  3. I think there is something cathartic about writing tell all books. And there's obviously a huge audience for it. :-)

    I did like Fun House when I read it last year. I liked Persepolis better, but then, they are very different stories in their own ways.

  4. Interesting thoughts on this's so true...we're drawn to others tragedies and we're prone to share our own..wonder why that is? Maybe looking for advice from others...or maybe it's just cathartic to put it all out there. I already have this one on hold at the library...looking forward to it.

  5. Hm, not really something I'd pick up but it does sound like an interesting read. Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. This is on my review still waiting to be written pile :/ Your thoughts pretty much echo mine. I read it, and that's that. I've seriously got nothing to say about it - and really how often do I not have the need to blabber on and on? This comment is longer than anything I've tried to write about FunHome.

    *sigh* my fridge has been making a funny sound lately - maybe that's what it is ;)

  7. Gah, where did my comments on this go... I know I replied!

    Nymeth: So annoying I have been using the c.c.'s computer more than my own and his is ancient!

    Vasilly: I know what you mean. I need my fiction..

    Literary Feline: Yes, there really is a large audience for it! Persepolis was better for me, too!

    Chris: I look forward to your review of it.

    Tink: Yeah, it was not something I would buy.

    Joanne: I know EXACTLY what you mean!


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