Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Paperback – Jun 5 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication that Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a "still life with children" that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* This is a father and daughter story. Bechdel's mother and two brothers are in it, of course, but Bruce Bechdel had the biggest impact on his eldest child and so is naturally the other main character in her autobiographical graphic novel. Emotionally and physically reserved, to the point of brusqueness, he busied himself restoring--and then some--the Victorian-era house he bought for the family in the Pennsylvania town in which he was born and lived virtually all his 44 years. He enlisted the kids for never-ending interior and exterior modifications of the place in what obviously was his major creative outlet. For a living, he taught twelfth-grade English and ran the small undertaking business that occupied part of his parents' house and that the kids called the fun home. Bechdel doesn't even hint about how ironic she and her brothers meant to be, because she is a narrative artist, not a moralist or comedian, in this book and because she has a greater, real-life irony to consider. After disclosing her lesbianism in a letter home from college, her mother replied that her father was homosexual, too. Alison suddenly understood his legal trouble over buying a beer for a teenage boy, all the teen male "helpers" he had around the house, and his solo outings during family vacations to New York. Bechdel's long-running Dykes to Watch Out For is arguably the best comic strip going, and Fun Home is one of the very best graphic novels ever. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
while i have enjoyed her comic strip over the years, bechdel is clearly a much more talented, nuanced artist than "Dykes to Watch Out For" would indicate, both in terms of her visual acumen and her subtle use of structure and dialogue to capture the vagaries of memory and grief.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is a voyeur''s delight. Bechdel invites the reader into her childhood home to snoop, poke and prod at the most intimate core of family experience. No door is locked, nothing is off limits and all is revealed in the harsh glare of her formidable analytical critique. In the spotlight is Bechdel's relationship with her father; a critical, aloof, closet homosexual, more comfortable in the realm of academic philosophies and surface artifice than the often grubby and disorganized dwelling of emotional human relationships.
Bechdel weaves a family tapestry filled with the excitement of discovery, the sorrow of unfulfilled need, the grief of dreams adrift and the acceptance that comes with understanding. Her story is entwined with mythological patterns that spiral back and forth between the personal and universal creating a tightly crafted 'family tragicomic'. Bechdel's art re-enforces the impact of pattern with the use of sparse, unadorned line-work, softened by flat washes. Her accessible, whimsical line style gives the reader some breathable room to absorb the almost palpable sorrow of need and loss central to the theme of father and self.
A generous, intelligent autobiography, Bechdel's readers are saved from slitting their wrists in grief through her satiric sense of humour.Read more ›
The book is mostly interesting for its tell-all character—literally and graphically. Don’t be fooled by the title “Fun Home” or the “comic” element in the subtitle. Fun House is a cynical allusion to the family’s ancillary source of income: a funeral home. Alison had an early and frank introduction to naked dead bodies and the technicalities of embalming. She gradually realizes her father’s secret attraction to young boys, including underage ones. When she attends college she discovers her own sexual same gender attraction and has a lesbian relationship. Her father gets caught providing alcohol to a minor. When he dies after being hit by a truck she surmises that it was no accident but suicide. That he no longer could face living a charade.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I appreciate Alison Bechdel's work but can't say I enjoy it; it's too grim and angry (not that there isn't reason for the anger. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jan Smith
This graphic novel received quite a lot of scrutiny in the media but I throughly enjoyed it! It could have helped that we read it in my gender and equality class so we discussed it... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jamie-Leigh
Fun Home stands for Funeral Home. Sounds gloomy, I know. But far too many things were going on in Alison's family to worry about a house full of corpses. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2013 by Book Cupid
I really enjoyed this book. I was also a fan of 'Dykes to watch out for'. It really is a biography about herself and her relationship with her father.
I love her drawing.
Can't recommend highly enough-- a moving, wry, beautifully written and drawn graphic memoir of a dysfunctional family-- as whose isn't?Published on June 5 2012 by snakelion
Want a copy for my classroom. It's one of the titles I recommend to people who are just beginning to be interested in reading Graphic Novels.Published on Nov. 20 2010 by choucroute
I loved reading this. It was moving, seeing the difference in the two generations. I love Allison's art, and her bold and truthful story. Defitinely one of my favorite authors.Published on Oct. 20 2010 by VictoryD
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