Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel. Graphic novel autobiography. Paperback, 232 pages. Interesting, but not a re-read, so giveawaybox.
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. This book takes on the painful topics of an abusive and conflicted father, a distant and detached mother, and the small town in which the family lived. Bechdel's father was both homosexual and a pedophile to a certain extent (teenage boys), obsessed with the presentation of perfection, and emotionally bankrupt with the family he had crafted.
Bechdel's father died by getting hit by a truck when she was in college. Despite the circumstances appearing to be accidental, Bechdel suspects suicide. The spirals of timeline in the seven long chapters of the graphic novel explain her reasoning as well as her mental and emotional development both at the time and in reflection.
I don't think I liked the book. But I did appreciate it. In an odd and blunt fashion, this was a work of both theater and art. Bechdel's tardy lesbianism, obsessive disorders, and desperate distance from her father are all major themes in the book. The tragedy of the family that functions even while being archetypically disfunctional makes this a very compelling autobiography.
I want to say that I picked this book up because of an Unshelved Book Club Review
, but that was posted too long ago. I can't remember now why it was on my reading list for this summer, particularly.
I recommend this book to my sister, who would recognize all of the literature and theater references and savor the bittersweet, multilayered conversations.