This was one of those books that was on my To Be Read list for an embarrassingly long time before I actually got around to it. But once I finally did, three pages was all it took to convince me to abandon my plans and spend the evening with Fun Home.
So, naturally, when Dana and I settled on this month’s theme, it was one of the first titles that occurred to me. It remains one of my all time favorite family memoirs, and plus, how could I resist an opportunity to try to convince more people to avoid my mistake and just pick it up already!
In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (of Dykes to Watch Out For) explores her relationship with her late father, a complicated dynamic made more so by his death (an ambiguous accident that was likely suicide) and its timing (only months after Bechdel had come out to her family and learned of her father’s own closeted homosexuality). It’s a brilliant, honest graphic memoir that deftly achieves the coveted trifecta of smart and funny and sad.
This book took me about three hours to read once I’d finally picked it up, but it was much longer before I felt like I had finished it. The complexity of the ideas and emotions that Bechdel tackles requires time to fully absorb, and her tightly controlled but hugely evocative artwork demands a second (and third, and fourth) look. So here’s my advice: devour it, examine it, sleep on it, repeat.