Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Paperback)
— From Sarah's Staff Picks
Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 2 p.m.
In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.
Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.
A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
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.
About the Author
ALISON BECHDEL has been a careful archivist of her own life and kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983 she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized "Dykes to Watch Out For" strip, "one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period" (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as "one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century."
"[Alison Bechdel] hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best...She's made a story that's quiet [and] dignified." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"[With] uncommon richness [and] depth...[Fun Home] shares as much in spirit with...other contemporary memoirists of considerable literary accomplishment." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
Alison Bechdel she’s one of the best, one to watch out for." --Harvey Pekar
"If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you'd have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home." --Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
"Brave and forthright and insightful--exactly what Alison Bechdel does best." --Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
"Stupendous...mesmerizing...The details...are devastatingly captured by an artist in total control of her craft." --Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys
"One of the very best graphic novels ever." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"Fun Home must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced. . . . pioneering." --Sean Wilsey The New York Times Book Review
TIME Best Book of the Year: "A masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other." Time Magazine
"One of the best memoirs of the decade ... at once hypercontrolled and utterly intimate." --New York Magazine, 10 Best Books of 2006 New York Magazine
"Fun Home must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced ... a pioneering work." --Sean Wilsey The New York Times Book Review
"A revelation ... feels like a true literary achievement, something with characters who baffle and disappoint and break hears the way people do in life and in the best of prose." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Graphic storytelling at its most profound." --a Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of 2006 The Los Angeles Times