Fun Home: A family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, A. (2006). Fun home: A family tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

 

Bechdel is a comic writer and illustrator known for her wonderful Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip. This was picked up by numerous newspapers in the comic strip format but was also complied and published in small book format.

This is Bechdel’s autobiography which is done in her classic comic strip style of art. Those who appreciated her characters will enjoy seeing her represent her family.  Being a graphic novel, this is a very quick read, but a good one. She describes growing up in the house her father is constantly restoring. He is a high school English teacher, and a third generation funeral home director, but loves restoring houses. Bechdel examines the relationship she had with her father who turned out to be a closeted gay man who was having affairs with his students. She doesn’t find this out until after she has left for college and has come out to her parents. She never gets the opportunity to talk with her father directly about this commonality between them as he is killed (run over by truck) shortly after.

Fun Home is a wonderful look at family dynamics and a peek inside a home which, like that of most of us, is functional and yet has dysfunctional moments and skeletons in the closets. This is a REAL family, not a perfect or perfectly awful TV family or fictional family. I think most people can relate to her story even if it is different from their own.

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