Title: Fun Home
Author: Alison Bechdel
Genre: Graphic Novel, Autobiography
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 adolescense, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.
After the musical came out, I figured it was finally time to read this book. I’m mad I waited so long. Fun Home was just as amazing as everyone made it out to be. It’s received numerous awards, and for good reason.
Bechdel is amazing at telling her story. There’s more text in this book than you might expect from a comic, which means it will take you a little bit longer to read. But everything is poignant and well thought-out. Bechdel doesn’t completely understand herself, and she doesn’t pretend she does. She is brutally honest about everything, and she pulls no punches. It’s a beautiful work, and the expressiveness of her characters strongly roots you in her childhood.
I don’t know what else to say but that it was amazing. I wish I had read this as a teenager because it would have helped everything make more sense.