Fun Home

By Alison Bechdel,

Book cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Book description

DISCOVER the BESTSELLING GRAPHIC MEMOIR behind the Olivier Award nominated musical.

'A sapphic graphic treat' The Times

A moving and darkly humorous family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Alison Bechdel's gothic drawings. If you liked Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis you'll love this.

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer…

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Why read it?

11 authors picked Fun Home as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This deeply intense and personal biography is visually told so well, Bechdel illustrates emotions through posture, timing, and expression brilliantly. The writer moves characters from one decade to another seamlessly without the reader ever being confused as to who's who.

One thing that is worth mentioning is the use of repetition; the repeated crossing of the road of her father, in his decline, increases its power with each re-framing from a different angle. This is a really useful storytelling tool that I have tried to employ with elements such as the portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte in my graphic novel. Hopefully,…

Alison Bechdel is a graphic artist, and for many years her weekly comic strip was syndicated in queer newspapers across the United States, and then published in a marvelous and hilarious series of books called Dykes to Watch Out For.

It was so wonderful to have a comic strip that reflected back to me so much of my own interior life and also the queer people and communities I knew. Then in 2006 Allison Bechdel took the queer world by storm when she published this memoir based on her childhood in a small New England town in which her father…

This Eisner Award-winning memoir explores personal and family complexities, as well as the love of literature.

Bechdel navigates the trials of growing up in a mortuary with an idiosyncratic family.

Two themes predominate: a father with a secret, and her own sexuality. Time magazine smartly ranked Fun Home at the top of its "Best Books of 2006" list.

From John's list on merging art with personal history.

When I set out to write a memoir about a complex family story, Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir was my inspiration.

She investigated the mysteries of her father-daughter story in the midst of a family and a community, a relationship that shared an intense love and identification with literature despite their battles. Her story tells how she came out in the 1970s as she came to understand her father’s living in the closet in the 1950s.

She was witty and honest and deeply insightful, as she wrote and drew her way through the story of her life. I was so moved.  

Nothing ruins a childhood so much as a parent with a secret. Alison’s father is a closeted gay man who sublimates unmet desires via the “monomaniacal restoration” of their old Gothic Revival house into a kind of look-but-don’t-touch museum. His M.O. is artifice, while young Alison becomes a relentless seeker of honesty. Soon after she comes out to her parents as a lesbian, her father finally tells her haltingly some of the secrets about his own sexuality. Shortly after that, he dies, in what may have been a suicide, and she feels culpable. In richly drawn panels full of…

From Deborah's list on impossible childhoods.

Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her enigmatic father and his ambiguous death paralleled my experience in so many ways that it made me feel less alone in my grief and puzzlement. Where she grew up in a funeral home, my brother and I grew up around grass-strip airports. Where her father was closeted gay, ours was closeted trans, and where her father stepped backwards into the path of a truck, our father was found in a field. Being told in a graphic format and by a fellow lesbian with ties to the Midwest made it all the more stirring.

I was drawn to this graphic memoir because, like me, Bechel grew up with a closeted parent in a heterosexual marriage while being a queer child herself. Like my memoir, Fun Home is also a coming-out story. Her art beautifully details the complexities of family life with both humor and gravitas. Some of the humor involves dead bodies, as her family runs a funeral home. Yet Bechdel must also grapple with profound loss: just after she comes out to her father, he dies by suicide, walking in front of a truck. She wonders if she can infer that he was…

Fun Home feels so intimate and profound. And though our experiences were nothing like Bechdel’s, it made us re-examine our childhoods and relationships with our parents. Poignant. Laugh out loud funny. And heartbreaking. It reaches universal themes by being incredibly specific, insightful, and honest. A perfect book.

Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about growing up with a father who directed a funeral home, and her complicated relationship with him, is on my short list of very favorite books. Each time I read it, I notice new details about the incredible drawings and writing, which are funny and heartbreaking and deal with themes of death and obsessive home decorating and mental health and sexuality.

Talk about the elephant in the room. The secret hiding in plain view in this amazing graphic memoir is that both Alison Bechdel and her father Bruce are gay, and their negotiations around what they know about each other and themselves, the things they say and do and the things they don’t, make this a fascinating read that drops deeper and deeper into questions of identity and family relations. Bechdel spent seven years creating the striking panels, which unfold slowly as the story progresses, deepening the text, complicating the relationships, asking compelling questions. Funny and painful, rich with literary allusion,…

From Leslie's list on the power of family secrets.

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