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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Hardcover – June 8, 2006
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Beginning with some of Bechdel's earliest memories of her father, readers meet a man who was an intelligent, emotionally distant yet volatile, narcissistic perfectionist who struggled with secrets. Trapped in the town not only of his youth but that of his ancestors for several generations, Bechdel`s father worked in the family business, a funeral home (known in the family as the "Fun Home") established by her great-grandfather in the 19th century. In addition to his interest in local history and historic preservation, Bechdel's father was a closeted gay (or bisexual) man who had a string of affairs, primarily with younger men, throughout his life.
Divided into seven chapters, each of which deals with particular themes in her childhood, FUN HOME contains a strong emphasis on literary references. Chapters weave back and forth in time, revealing aspects of Bechdel's childhood and details of her father's death. Books and literature were an important influence in Bechdel's life growing up. Her father taught English Literature at the local high school while her mother studied theater and performed in community plays.Read more ›
It shouldn't come as any surprise that Bechdel is capable of producing such a great work -- she has proved time and again in both her comic strip and other media (her hilarious and much missed wall calendars from the 90s) that she can blend words, drama and humor as sharply as any. The surprise to me here is just how deeply Bechdel allows us to glimpse into her life.
"Fun Home" is no easy narrative: the story of Bechdel's family and especially her difficult father bends, buckles and then turns to reveal more truth as each chapter goes by. The art and detail are so well done that I didn't feel as though I was looking at pen and ink drawings but real photos reminiscent of Italian "fumetti" comics. When the book ended, I felt the need to go over it again and put the pieces together like a puzzle.
I first discovered Bechdel when I was a junior in college 15 years ago and I've been following her work ever since. Part of me wants to selfishly keep her as one of my own, somebody that I discovered before the mainstream and after I died, friends and family would find her books among my collection and think, "This is brilliant, if only we'd read her years ago!"
I'll probably spend the next few months saying, "You liked 'Fun Home'? Amateur! *I've* been reading Bechdel since 1991." But this book (and Bechdel's work in general) deserves a wide audience and all the success it gets.
Bravo Alison, bravo.
It took me awhile to set down and attempt to put into words what I found so special about this book. First, this is a graphic book (a "comic" book if you will), and one that is equal parts graphic and comic in its depiction of a very real American family. Being raised in a funeral home in small town America could prove a challenge for anyone. Being an adolescent girl awakening to her own lesbianism with a closet case father who is both your High School English teacher and the local funeral director, is the stuff of great literature.
The author has an acute sense of the absurd, and an unparralleld ability to communicate life's little ironies. Without ever losing affection for her emotionally remote parents, Bechdel cuts to the heart of the matter and draws them warts and all. "Fun Home" is a genuine marvel, a truly tragicomic memoir and one of the highlights of the publishing year thus far. Don't miss it.
I'm somewhat impressed that I somehow managed to read one of the New York Times' Notable Books of 2006 while it's still 2006, and before they named it as a notable book. Completely unlike me. But there it is. My closet trendiness is finally leaking out.
And as tempting as it is to use that paragraph as a segue into a review of Fun Home, I can't figure out a way to do it that isn't monstrously cheesy, so I'll leave it where it stands.
As sick of the whole memoir thing as I am, there are still a few that generate enough buzz from the trustworthy to merit picking up while they're still somewhat fresh. Fun Home has been one of them since months before it came out, and for the most part, the buzz seems warranted. (The part that's not "most" is because, well, it's a memoir, and in today's climate, where everyone from the Bush's pet dog to the janitor of the local brothel is publishing a memoir, publishing a memoir in and of itself is cause for skepticism.) Bechdel takes her childhood journal and reworks it with an adult sensibility, but doesn't throw out the awkward, painful bits. Or, if she did, she left enough of them in to make it scan.
At its heart, Fun Home is the story of the conflict between Bechdel and her father, both of whom were struggling with sexuality issues during Bechdel's adolescence; she eventually came out, while her father stayed closeted until his death (whether accident or suicide, a question unanswered to this day).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would like these books. I have received make up and a Thomas the train instead. Please advisePublished 1 day ago by Therese Roessler
Alison Bechdel is supposed to be a revolutionary queer feminist author so I thought I'd love her most recent work, but I read the whole thing in one sitting and was so bored. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mae Berlow
I normally don’t read graphic novels. They have always just seemed cartoony and juvenile to me. My diversity book club at work selected this text for our most recent discussion so... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very disappointed to find it is a cartoon book. Probably will donate it to book sale.Published 8 days ago by Alberta
I love this graphic memoir. I only began taking comics seriously as an art/literature form for the last 6 years but I have read at least a dozen of the most acclaimed works in this... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Anand Pandya
Bechdel's father was a huge influence on her (as most fathers are to their daughters) in ways which are both circular and mirror-image. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Rover
I bought this for Kindle, but it's not compatible with Kindle for PC or the actual Kindle. Why would I want to only read this on my phone?Published 13 days ago by Megan Tan
Somehow this book is about grief, hope, and being perfected through creativity.Published 14 days ago by Allycatherine Wild