Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. ★★★★
Fun Home is a memoir told in the form of a graphic novel. When Alison Bechdel was twenty, her father died, four months after Alison came out as a lesbian and shortly thereafter found out that her father had affairs with men.
“I’d been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parents’ tragedy.”
Fun Home is Bechdel’s reflections on her childhood and her relationship with her father. Obviously, it involves a large coming of age element, which isn’t one of my favorite story types. However, I did enjoy Fun Home.
It’s unclear how much truth there is to any of the connections Bechdel draws, which she will readily admit in the memoir itself. She and her mother speculate that her father’s death was a suicide, but they have no firm evidence. She also admit that his death might not be related to her coming out, as there were plenty of other reasons that might have motivated his suicide, including her mother asking him for a divorce two weeks before. Yet Fun Home is less about Alison Bechdel finding the concrete truth as it is a documentary of her own experiences and thoughts. Its nature is highly personal.
There were elements to Fun Home that I was not so fond of. The constant literary references might have been important to Bechdel’s life, but they could feel pretentious at times. I also didn’t think the art was anything note worthy. It wasn’t bad, but it never moved past “all right.”
Still, on the whole, Fun Home is a book worth reading.