Friday, April 6, 2018

Fun Home

Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This is a graphic novel about a girl who finds out her father is gay only after she comes out as a lesbian. He dies shortly after, and she remembers her strange relationship with him, as well as her childhood growing up in and around funeral homes. There could have been a lot more emotion to the story, but I think telling it as a graphic novel kind of diminished that possibility. The drawings didn’t add much depth or insight, but it would have been a sparse story without them.

I've also read Are You My Mother? by Bechdel and had a similar reaction regarding the emotion in the book. I can see how both books were therapeutic for Bechdel to write and illustrate, but I didn't get much of that from the drawings or even the story. They were both interesting, but dragged a bit with the navel-gazing, heavy literary references, and other stuff that could have been cut out to make a snappy, impactful graphic novel.

Fun Home is going to be performed as a play at Playhouse on the Square in May, so I'm excited to see how it translates to the stage. If you've read much of this blog at all, you know I love comparing books to movies and play versions of themselves, so we'll see how Fun Home turns out!


  1. Fun Home is one of my favorite books. I really like how Bechdel weaves the literary references into her story and her father's story and makes the book work on so many different levels. But I'm an English major so I'm inclined to appreciate intertexuality.

    1. I'm an English major too, so I understood the references and appreciated them on some level, but I read graphic novels/memoirs because I love the deep connection you can feel between the images and words - sometimes it's emotional, sometimes it's just fun. This was pretty heavy for me, and I don't think making it a graphic memoir really added anything to it.