by Alison Bechdel
I think I waited way too long after reading this book to try to write a review. I finished it several weeks ago, and honestly a lot of the details have slipped my memory. And that probably says something right there: this wasn’t a super memorable book for me.
Also, I discovered that I’m not a big fan of graphic novels. Reading it, I kept feeling like the author was cheating, because there is far less actual writing in a graphic novel than a conventional novel (or memoir, as the case may be). I realize, however, that that’s not only my own bias (I just prefer words over pictures, I guess), but that it’s totally unfair because it undoubtedly takes an incredible amount of time and effort to create the hundreds of pictures that comprise the book.
So. Touted by the author as a “family tragicomic,” Fun Home is a memoir spanning Bechdel’s childhood and young adulthood in a very unconventional family. Her father is a manic-depressive closeted homosexual (and it would seem, possibly a pedophile), who is at times abusive to Alison and her brothers. Her mother is a distracted and disappointed woman. Bechdel’s father is the town undertaker and runs the family mortuary – affectionately known within the family as “the fun home” (hence the title of the book). Through her recounting of her young life, Bechdel explores her very complicated relationship with her father, and her own discovery of being a lesbian.
I don’t know … I know the book has gotten rave reviews, and has even been turned into a Broadway musical, but it didn’t grab me. While I very much felt the “tragic” part – it’s rather dark and morbid and depressing – I didn’t much get the “comic” part. I don’t think I laughed or even chuckled once.
It’s an easy enough read, but … eh. Not really my cup of tea.