By: Allison Bechdel
Published Year: 2007
Publisher: Mariner Books
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.
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.
I am a big Broadway fan, so I first heard of Fun Home from the Tony’s. I did not initially know that it was a graphic novel, and when I found that out it didn’t appeal to me at the time. However, after reading and enjoying Persepolis I decided I wanted to read something similar. Fun Home was the first thing that popped into my head so I picked it up.
What I thought
Maybe I’d enjoy the musical version better?
For as much as I enjoyed Persepolis, I disliked Fun Home. It was nothing like I expected and I was definitely disappointed.
Fun Home is another autobiographical graphic novel based on parts of Bechdel’s life. However, it’s as much about Bechdel’s dad (if not more) than it is about her. Bechdel’s dad was gay but never came out of the closet. He presented his life as a straight man with a wife and family, even though he occasionally had affairs with men that his wife often knew about. Bechdel is also gay, and came out in her early 20s. it was at that time that her mom shared with her that her father was also gay. Shortly after she came out to her family, he dad passed away.
First off, this story is insanely depressing. A bit more depressing than I expected, even though it does call itself a tragicomic. I was a bit taken aback by how much this story was going to be about her dad and the difficulties of his life. I thought it was going to be a bit more about parallels and how they bonded after she realized that she was gay. I also didn’t realize when I picked the book up that one, her dad had never come out as gay and two, that he was dead.
While it was a depressing story, that wasn’t the main reason that I disliked this book. It’s that it is the most pretentious piece of literature I have ever read. The entire book feels like Bechdel bragging about all of the authors that she read and basically talking down to the reader. She constantly compares herself and her dad to Proust and Wilde, and so many more over the top authors. It feels like she is name dropping intellectuals and it is extremely off-putting. I very much got the feeling that if I were to meet Bechdel she would be looking down her nose at me while we talked and I couldn’t stand that.
By: Allison Bechdel