Fun Home is an amazing work. Bechdel combines humor, insight, empathy, literary theory, and autobiographic reflection into one surprisingly readable comic book about her issues with her dad. There are a lot of things going on here: Bechdel traces her father's life, her childhood, their strained relationship, her coming out, and his breaking down. These strains are combined thematically with chapters structured around books: it seems that Bechdel's best and only way of communicating with her father, a high school English teacher, was through literature.
This may sound complicated, but Bechdel's strength is her ability to render it all compelling and poignant throughout. You don't have to be a literary snob to like this book. Chapters centered around Proust, for example, go over well even if you have no idea what the reference is. The images are drawn well and capture a lot of period detail-- essential since Bechdel's dad was an amateur home-restorer for whom detail was everything.
Bechdel's own process of coming out contrasts bittersweetly with her father's inability to do so, and will ring bells for anyone who has been there before. In the final picture, with all the literary backdrop and rich characterization, the reader is left with a human, flawed father and a daughter doing her best to figure out where she stands. This book is a must read for anyone who likes history, literature, or is curious about what a graphic novel can do. I gave it to a relative obsessed with capturing family history and another who just likes stories. Dykes to Watch out for fans will dig it for sure, and those who are less compelled by that weekly's melodrama structure will find a treasure here.
Allison Bechtel's book is so smart, and funny, and warm, I wish I knew her! The artwork is beautiful, and she apparently drew a lot from old family photos, which may be why the frames all feel totally natural, like you're looking in on a real family. The plot is that she grows up and discovers her own homosexuality and then her dad's, but it feels so universal; it's just about growing up and discovering who you are and making sense of where you … more
Fun Home is a graphic memoir by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, creator of the syndicated comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For." Published in 2006, it tells the story of Bechdel's upbringing in a Pennsylvania funeral home run by her closeted gay father, who later dies in an automobile accident that Bechdel suspects is actually a suicide.
Drawing heavily on literary references such as Proust, "Fun Home" explores the identity issues associated with sexuality as Bechdel herself struggles through her formative years, questioning her own sexuality.
Reviews of "Fun Home" were overwhelmingly positive, with Time magazine naming the memoir one of the "10 Best Books of the Year" (2006).