Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel
Book Review by Sam Sørensen
“If there was ever a bigger pansy than my father, it was Marcel Proust.”
Alison Bechdel, quite the genius, delivers with Fun Home. Her graphic novel covers her coming-of-age experiences living in what she and her siblings called the “fun home,” short for funeral home. Bechdel focuses on the complex relationship she has with her father, an English teacher and funeral home director, by connecting with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.
By including many, many literary references, such as Joyce, Camus, and Fitzgerald, Bechdel demonstrates how literature helps to make sense of reality. Within the dysfunctional family dynamic, Bechdel explores sexuality, suicide, and abuse. Not only coming to terms with her father’s repressed homosexuality, she explores her own.
Though heavy in substance, Fun Home manages to be equally light-hearted. Ultimately, the graphic novel took Bechdel seven years to complete. The effort is evident in the illustrations and eloquent writing. The graphic novel has been adapted to a Broadway show of the same name. It’s currently showing at the Circle in the Square Theatre until mid-October. If you’ll be in the New York area, I imagine it’s worth checking out!
Fun fact: The Bechdel test is named after this author. The test sees whether or not two or more female characters interact with one another by discussing something other than men. It’s an interesting lens to use while reading, especially in considering the development of positive female characters!
Check availability of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
About the reviewer: Sam Sørensen is a majestic starfish that has blessed TPL with her dazzling presence since 2013 and she thinks graphic novels should be a larger part of canonical literature. She also likes cats.”