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Showing 1-10 of 523 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 714 reviews
on March 3, 2016
I've been a fan of Alison for a very long time, ever since Dykes to Watch Out For was a syndicated comic in a local gay paper in Denver, CO. This more personal story moves like a stream of consciousness, smoothly flowing through not only a period of history but a series of questions and postulations. Tough questions are posed, but as in so many cases where we interrogate our own pasts, particularly when some of the players are no longer living, the only conclusions we can reach are personal. Loops can be closed, but they are internal. It's a treat to follow those loops as Alison attempts to close them to her own satisfaction, and it's a treat to be let in on the inner workings of such an erudite mind. The art adds a dimension to the memoir that I wish more could tap into, and the level of detail and attention to the art is a testament to how powerfully this story was felt by the artist. Thank you!
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on February 20, 2017
Have not finished it yet. This is a graphic 'autobiography' that breathes on many levels. It is a great read. At first I didn't realize that Fun Home had been a book. So my first experience of the story was listening to the recording from the musical. Then, just this week my husband and I saw the musical in SF this week as well. I loved it. Decided it was time to read the source. The graphic novel adds a lot of additional information to her story. Well worth the read.
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on March 18, 2017
Bechdel spends the pages of this book examining all aspects of family through the lens of sexuality and her father's suicide. The subtitle, calling it a "tragicomic," truly is the best way to describe this work of art. As we move through Allison's childhood and adult life, all the while knowing that all her stories end with the father's death, there is a sense of melancholic nostalgia.
It is a wonderful representation of the messy, heartbreaking truth of families, brought together with beautiful images and gripping storytelling. A fantastic read that will leave you breathless for more.
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VINE VOICEon February 17, 2014
I got this as a gift for my wife, but I couldn't help but check it out when she was done. I read it one day. I would read a chunk of it, put it down to do something else, but the next thing I knew I'd have it in my hands again. I'd first heard of Alison Bechdel because of the "Bechdel Test," in which (to briefly define) you would take note of a television show or movie in which two women talk to each other about something other than a man. It's an intriguing notion that has stuck with me ever since I first heard it and means even more now that I have a daughter, which has heightened my distaste for sexism.

This story is of course autobiographical, focusing on Bechdel and her father. I won't say more about the plot, just in case you want to avoid any hint of a spoiler.

I rate this five stars because the story was very compelling and interesting, but in truth I'd knock it down half a star if I could. There were times when Bechdel chooses to use a fancy word when a simple one would suffice, which isn't to say someone shouldn't have a good vocabulary, only that sometimes it pulled me out of the story. If the narration feels like a distraction, I feel like it's an unsuccessful sentence or paragraph. I also felt that the story fell apart a bit toward the end, relying too heavily on James Joyce's Ulysses and losing some of the sharp focus that the early and middle chapters had. However, these are small criticisms within a much larger picture, one that deserves plenty of praise from readers and critics. The only book I could compare it with is Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Both are tremendous, using the form of the graphic novel to support the tale and present it in the most effective manner. Even if you wouldn't normally think to read a book in this format, I highly recommend this.
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on October 27, 2016
Fun Home is a memoir by Alison Bechdel in which Alison writes about her childhood, her family, and her journey of identity and self.

This graphic novel has so much depth. With literary and cross-discipline references, it can be a daunting read. But I promise you those references truly open up the book.

Upon my first read, I made notes as I went, of places where I wanted to go back. And now that I'm going through again, I am in awe of Bechdel's writing. There's hidden details in the references, in the details about her father, the vocabulary, and things I did not put together the first time.

The parallels, the crosses, the convergence and divergence. When people joke that "graphic novels aren't literature," I want to point them at this book.

The single-volume memoir's frames are engaging, and lend much to the story. Without them I don't think the prose could stand alone nearly as well. And I think that's what makes Fun Home work so well in this form.

Bechdel planned this graphic novel with such precision that the larger picture of woven memories, family details, and conclusions, wrapped in literary and philosophical references creates an impressive work that lends a voice to the deceased, Bruce Bechdel. All of these details allow for the reader to draw their own conclusions while also growing with Alison, and feeling her emotions grip you right through the page.

I would recommend Fun Home to anyone that wants to experience another memoir in such a unique format. Don't be afraid to highlight or mark spots where you might not understand. I promise it's worth it.
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on July 18, 2017
I've never read any of Bechdel's DTWOF series, although it was her status as a lesbian author that landed her on my Amazon Book Recommendations list. I admit I was drawn in (no pun intended) solely by the Six Feet Under-ish premise of the book, but I remain astonished by its depth of feeling and literary style. Chockfull of allusions to classical mythology, landscape architecture, and modern psychology, Bechdel's drawings belie the seriousness of her narrative. It is a triumph of solipsistic ennui. And if you don't know what that means, you might want to pick up another book.
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Alison Bechdel has written a modern American classic: "Funhouse" is about her family, her father, his death (maybe a suicide, maybe not), his and her homosexuality, and how the rest of the family related to them and his death. It's part biography, part confessional, part analysis and part scrapbook. Ms. Bechdel wrote and drew it, so the details are precise and the relationship between the art and the writing is seamless.
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I have been a fan of Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel's pitch-perfect and depthy comic strip about a group of lesbians and their friends, since high school about twelve years ago, and the arrival of a new work by Bechdel is always an event to be heralded by the same day purchase of her book and my holing up with chocolates to read it all the way through.

This one was a little different than the Dykes series, though, because its complexity, both in the drawings and the writing, really deserved a slower-paced reading so I could ponder all of the literary connections she made, and the thoughts and actions that brought up so many interesting feelings and thoughts in me.

Bechdel's Dad owned the local Funeral Home (the "Fun Home"), and restored their old home to museum-like glory, obsessively painting, rearranging, and disallowing the personal touches and tastes of his wife and kids in favor of period pieces of furniture and decoration.

Between the Fun Home and the restoration, Alison starts to show us the stilted way in which her father is living and forcing them all to live. Why does he need to have such control over his surroundings?

It is only when Bechdel is away at college that she discovers lesbianism and realizes that her differences have a name. When she comes out to her parents, she discovers the secret that her parents had been trying to keep under cover for years.

Alson and her Dad are both voracious readers, and their stories are shown against a backdrop of classic and other books, which makes the experience of her autobiography (to this point) so much richer.

This is a five star hit that I think deserves a lot of attention from people who aren't usually comic readers. The success of Persepolis and a few other mainstream graphic novels have paved the way for this to be a hit. I will certainly be recommending it to all of my book friends.
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on September 2, 2015
Those foolish incoming Duke University freshmen who won't read this book need a good lesson in humility and the value of literature, which they would learn if they read this magnificent book. And I thank them for calling this book to my attention.

Not only is it intelligent, layered, original, and astonishing, it's one of the best books I've read in a long time that uses other literary works to emphasize and humanize its story. Ms. Bechdel is sly, funny, and more self-aware than most writers I can think of, and Fun Home is a triumph. I only wish I had read it when it came out so I could have been recommending it to everyone all of these years.

I can't remember the last memoir I enjoyed this much (maybe "Liar's Club" by Mary Carr) that contained so much wisdom and humor. Yes, it has much frank discussion of homosexuality but it is hardly gratuitous when it is fundamental to the natures of the two main characters--the narrator and her father, their destinies beautifully interwoven with the themes of books they read in the course of this graphic "tragicomic."

Those who look down on graphic novels as less than "literature" would do well to withhold judgment until they have read "Fun Home." It is a great--an important--book--in any genre.
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on April 30, 2015
Excellent! I bought this because I planned to see the musical for my celebration of my own personal "survival day". Every year I celebrate the day I survived an auto accident in 1996. This was what I did for the 19th Anniversary! VERY WELL DONE! I had never heard of Alison before I bought tickets to the show and the soundtrack. I bought the book to better my understanding of the story. I can't deny it was a bit tedious to read at first. I knew it was a graphic novel. It's very well done, but the form isn't something I normally read. Once I got into it, I was hooked. It was hard to get started. I've bought her second "family narrative" book "Are You My Mother?" To learn more about her relationship with her mom. I'm also going back to NYC to experience the musical again before it closes.
I'm a straight woman, but a bit of a tomboy. Move always worn guy clothes and my parents always tell the story of when I sprinted out on Christmas morning at age 4 to attack my older brother's gifts under the tree, ignoring all the frilly girl toys and dolls set out for me. He had matchbox cars, etc set out. I played with those from a young age. I wore my dad's shirts and shoes. I don't recall ever playing with make up. I'd play flag football with neighborhood kids. I'd climb trees, etc. I was once flung off a neighbor's horse into a sticker bush while riding without tackle. I was a mess. Before swim team practice I would get there early and get all the frogs and snakes out of the pool. (I grew up in GA.). Thankfully, mom moved me to CA for high school and I had a place where minds were more open to different ideas. I identify with Alison's wanting to dress in guy clothes and have short hair. That's me all the way. Even straight people can see themselves in this book.
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