Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

I read Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel a while ago and my first reaction was "meh."  However, as time has passed, the book has stuck with me and I find myself frequently thinking about it.  When I saw Fun Home (the book she wrote before Are You My Mother?) at the library, I knew I had to read it and was immediately thrown in my bag to come home (after I checked it out, of course).

In Fun Home, Bechdel's primary focus is on her father and their relationship.  She focuses on his occupations as an English teacher and funeral home director with many references to literature and death speckled throughout her story.  In fact, death is more than just speckled.  It is a major focus because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding her father's death, leaving those close to him with the conclusion that his death was actually a suicide.

As with her other memoir, I found myself slowly reading Fun Home, frequently revisiting pages and panels.  I do tend to wonder if I was drawn to this book because of my own father's death (I speak about it here for those not familiar with my own experiences).  I even found myself marking passages, which is honestly not a common occurrence when reading and experiencing graphic novels and comics.  To make it even more rare, some of those passages even made it into my own personal journal.  They just hit too close to home.

In the end, I think this was a book I needed to read; one I was meant to read.  Is it a book that I would recommend to anyone and everyone?  No.  It does contain difficult and controversial topics of conversation.  Topics that need to be addressed by everyone, but ones that not everyone may be ready and willing to face.  Readers would need to be prepared prior to opening the pages of this book.  But once you are ready to have those conversations, even if you are borderline ready, open up this book.  It won't always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Have you yet read Fun Home?  What are your thoughts on this memoir?

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