Title: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Author: Alison Bechdel
Release Date: June 5, 2007
Publisher: Mariner Books
Genre: Comics, Science Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel reminisces about her complicated relationship with her father. He wasn’t a warm or welcoming man, and Bechdel was shocked when she discovered his secrets just a few weeks before he died.
A starkly drawn comic, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is an emotional memoir that is uniquely suited to the graphic memoir format.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic memoir written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel. The artwork is stark; Bechdel works in black, white, and shades of blue, accentuating the seriousness of the story. This isn’t a colorful, splashy, whimsical tale; this is deep and dark, full of dysfunction and lies. Her style evokes different emotions within the reader; Bechdel herself has an open, inviting expression, while her father is forbidding, with unhappy eyes and frown lines etched into his face. It really helps the reader to sympathize with Bechdel, to understand what she’s going through and to feel her devastation as her foundations crack beneath her.
As Bechdel tells her story, readers will feel how distant Bechdel’s father is, yet how, through mediums such as literature, he tried to reach out to her. He clearly led a conflicted, hidden life, and Bechdel never demonizes him in Fun Home. Instead, she only wants to understand, especially in light of her own personal journey. Just a few weeks before her father’s death, Bechdel came out to her parents as a lesbian. It’s interesting to see her father’s reaction to this news, and what it says about him with the subsequent revelations about who he was.
If you haven’t given comics or graphic memoirs a try, then Fun Home is a great place to start. It’s a great example of how the medium of comics can serve to enhance a personal story. Bechdel deftly uses her pen in order to evoke emotions within the reader that couldn’t necessarily come forth with mere description. The expressions that Bechdel gives herself convey her shock, her horror, her sadness so much better than descriptions with words could. This is an excellent memoir, graphic or otherwise, and people who enjoy the genre should absolutely give this book a try.