Review: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic — Alison Bechdel

Read: 66
To Go: 34

Book List
61. Skyward — Mary Alice Monroe
62. The Journals of Sylvia Plath — Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes
63. Dust Tracks on a Road — Zora Neale Hurston
64. The Silent Woman — Janet Malcolm
65. Memoirs of Montparnasse — John Glassco
66. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic — Alison Bechdel

 In Fun Home, a best-selling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her difficult relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home (which the family referred to as the ‘Fun Home’). It wasn’t until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was gay. A few weeks after the revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

(Full disclaimer: due to lack of creativity, I totally stole most of the description from the back of the book.)

I’m sure it will shock no one when I say this review will be short and sweet, as it’s late and I am pressed for time. But here we go.

The quick and dirty: I really enjoyed it. Fun Home lived up to its secondary title (“tragicomic”) as it was both heart-breaking and incredibly funny. Not to mention that I was super impressed with Bechdel’s overabundance of literary allusions to the lives of her and her father.

The illustrations were beyond gorgeous, and I don’t think she could have chosen a better medium to convey the story. The detail in her panels revealed so much more than a text-only piece could have.

As well, I really wanted to touch on the humour part of this book. As much as I really found myself wanting to cry for Bruce and Alison, more often than not I wanted to laugh for all the subtle humour that Bechdel included. My personal favourite? “If there was ever a bigger pansy than my father, it was Marcel Proust.” (This was obviously taken out of context, but it is, to date, one of the funniest things I have read.)

I definitely recommend reading Fun Home. You won’t want to put it down.

Next book: Hard to say! But I know it’ll be fun-reading, since I’ve ploughed through all my English class texts.

Next feature: I’m really tired of saying “the usual,” but you know how it is.

– Kelsey

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