Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
By Alison Bechdel

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Product Description

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.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1217 in Books
  • Brand: Mariner Books
  • Published on: 2007-06-05
  • Released on: 2007-06-05
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.00" h x .67" w x 6.00" l, .84 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 232 pages


  • Fun Home A Family Tragicomic

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication that Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a "still life with children" that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine
That Alison Bechdel kept a childhood journal made Fun Home a perhaps more true-to-life project than it would have been if she'd relied on memory alone. A powerful graphic novel-memoir, Fun Home documents Bechdel's childhood experiences and coming-of-age as a woman and lesbian. At its center lies her heartbreaking relationship with her distant father, which produces emotionally complex and poignant reflections and clean, bitonal images. While detractors cited confusing chronology and repetition of events, literary buffs enjoyed the challenging references to Albert Camus, James Joyce, and classical mythology. In the end, Fun Home "is an engrossing memoir that does the graphic novel format proud" (New York Times).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* This is a father and daughter story. Bechdel's mother and two brothers are in it, of course, but Bruce Bechdel had the biggest impact on his eldest child and so is naturally the other main character in her autobiographical graphic novel. Emotionally and physically reserved, to the point of brusqueness, he busied himself restoring--and then some--the Victorian-era house he bought for the family in the Pennsylvania town in which he was born and lived virtually all his 44 years. He enlisted the kids for never-ending interior and exterior modifications of the place in what obviously was his major creative outlet. For a living, he taught twelfth-grade English and ran the small undertaking business that occupied part of his parents' house and that the kids called the fun home. Bechdel doesn't even hint about how ironic she and her brothers meant to be, because she is a narrative artist, not a moralist or comedian, in this book and because she has a greater, real-life irony to consider. After disclosing her lesbianism in a letter home from college, her mother replied that her father was homosexual, too. Alison suddenly understood his legal trouble over buying a beer for a teenage boy, all the teen male "helpers" he had around the house, and his solo outings during family vacations to New York. Bechdel's long-running Dykes to Watch Out For is arguably the best comic strip going, and Fun Home is one of the very best graphic novels ever. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5A beautiful way to read a memoir
By Brad Parks
I've been a fan of Alison for a very long time, ever since Dykes to Watch Out For was a syndicated comic in a local gay paper in Denver, CO. This more personal story moves like a stream of consciousness, smoothly flowing through not only a period of history but a series of questions and postulations. Tough questions are posed, but as in so many cases where we interrogate our own pasts, particularly when some of the players are no longer living, the only conclusions we can reach are personal. Loops can be closed, but they are internal. It's a treat to follow those loops as Alison attempts to close them to her own satisfaction, and it's a treat to be let in on the inner workings of such an erudite mind. The art adds a dimension to the memoir that I wish more could tap into, and the level of detail and attention to the art is a testament to how powerfully this story was felt by the artist. Thank you!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5A worthwhile read.
By me, mara
Have not finished it yet. This is a graphic 'autobiography' that breathes on many levels. It is a great read. At first I didn't realize that Fun Home had been a book. So my first experience of the story was listening to the recording from the musical. Then, just this week my husband and I saw the musical in SF this week as well. I loved it. Decided it was time to read the source. The graphic novel adds a lot of additional information to her story. Well worth the read.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5The tragicomic of the decade.
By Emma
Bechdel spends the pages of this book examining all aspects of family through the lens of sexuality and her father's suicide. The subtitle, calling it a "tragicomic," truly is the best way to describe this work of art. As we move through Allison's childhood and adult life, all the while knowing that all her stories end with the father's death, there is a sense of melancholic nostalgia.
It is a wonderful representation of the messy, heartbreaking truth of families, brought together with beautiful images and gripping storytelling. A fantastic read that will leave you breathless for more.

See all 713 customer reviews...

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