Fun Home

Fun Home

A Family Tragicomic

Graphic Novel - 2006
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GeeksInTheLibrary Oct 19, 2017

The author recounts her fraught history with her distant father, who - late in life - she discovered was also gay. Good for fans for warts and all family dramas and awkward holiday dinners.

SCL_Justin Jul 25, 2017

Alison Bechdel’s book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a memoir in comics form. It’s mostly about growing up and dealing with her father’s homosexuality (at the same time she was coming out as a lesbian) and his criminal behaviour with some of his students, and his death. Which may have been a suicide.

She doesn’t tell it straightforwardly, but circles around events and brings things back and forth through time echoing dreams the way memory does at its best. It starts with the house her father was constantly renovating. It deals with life in a funeral home. There are neglected dreams and OCD episodes. It’s painful and terrible and everything seems fraught with meaning.

It’s very much a personal story. It’s the kind of story that makes you ask “how do the people she wrote about feel about this?” It’s courageous and self-absorbed in a way I can’t help but admire. Really great work.

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andavis8
Jul 21, 2017

I read it because my husband and I saw the musical before we left D.C. I think that was actually the last piece of theatre we saw before we moved. It was a decent performance. At the time, I was struck by the simplicity and strategic repetition of the lyrics. But I've been incredibly impressed how much the songs have stuck with me and how much I've listened to the cast album since.

I think going from the musical to the source material made me appreciate how much liberty Lisa Kron took with Bechdal's work. It was an adaptation and they exist definitively as two different works, yet there is also a way in which they harmonize.

Fun Home has powerful and skillful allusions to literary masterpieces that I am so glad Kron did not try to tackle. It worked incredibly well in print, in part because there was time for Bechdal to do the work to set it up. I think sometimes it felt a little forced, then she would keep pushing and a point or an illustration would just make it resonate and feel worth it.

There is a wit, an honesty, and a willingness to demonstrate beautiful (if not brutal) questions that drives this work. And I will never look at a package of Sunbeam bread again. Seriously, the way she litter that loaf of bread throughout the book is astounding.

LPL_ShirleyB Jun 14, 2017

This is such a well-written complex & intense​ autobiographical story of the author's coming of age in a dysfunctional family--focused on the father's abusive, but charismatic personality!
This book is a 3-time award winner: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/Biography, Stonewall Book Awards - Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award and GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book.

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BREATHLESSMAHONEY
May 08, 2017

I'm usually not a GN fan but this was hard to put down.

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Nymeria23
Apr 10, 2017

This book showed up on my class reading list, but I hadn't looked anything up about it until I bought it from the bookstore. I wasn't expecting a graphic novel, to say the least, but I was immediately intrigued because of it.
This book recounts the author's life, growing up in a funeral home, discovering her sexuality, and coming to terms with the relationship she had with her late father.
I really liked it. There was no sugar-coating. Only the facts and the raw, unashamed truth were given to the reader. This display of transparent honesty is what, to me, makes this book so likable. You don't feel as though you are being deceived or lulled into a make-believe fantasy land of someone's ideal childhood. You instead feel as though the author is reaching out to you, trying to connect with you in a real, emotional and human way.
The reader follows Alison as she realizes and comes to terms with being a lesbian, as she deals with the sudden and mysterious death of her father, and discovers her father's own sexual preferences.
Amazing book, would recommend to anyone interested.

AL_JENNIEB Jan 19, 2017

An autobiography told in graphic novel form. Alison Bechdel's memoir is gritty, funny, heartwarming, and "graphic." The author's wit and humor while reliving her "unconventional" childhood, and her adventures as a young lesbian coming out to her closeted father will reel you in with its' authenticity, and keeps you captivated until the last page.

AL_STEFFEN Nov 23, 2016

I really enjoyed this; it was one of the most cerebral things I've read since graduating.
A well-read lesbian's biography which focuses mainly on her father, and her childhood in the 1970s. Turns out that her father was a closeted gay man for her entire upbringing, and not a flamboyantly fun gay man. Author Alison Bechdel's personal narrative is raw and dark, but level headed and very captivating.

SquamishLibraryStaff Mar 31, 2016

This is a beautiful, heartfelt, intimate story told through incredible illustrations and poetic prose. You'll want to read it again to catch even more details the second time around!

JCLAngelicaR Feb 26, 2016

This is definitely a very different graphic novel read. It’s a graphic novel memoir. A coming-out story. It’s about a self-realization thanks to books in one’s life. It’s about survival while growing up in a dysfunctional family. The book received an extraordinary acclaim. It shows not only an appreciation of the masterfully done literary work but also a staggering magnitude of applicability. May the story be that cathartic experience need by many.

Chapel_Hill_MollyL Oct 08, 2015

A gorgeously written book--Bechdel demonstrates amazing mastery of story structure and pacing in this heartfelt memoir. The entire plot of the book seems to be in the opening chapter, and Bechdel spends the rest of the book ruminating over these events trying to make sense of her life. The conclusion was deeply satisfying. Top marks!

quagga Sep 21, 2015

Each time I re-read this, I notice new things. This time, a scene caught my attention because of the current adult colouring book craze.
When Bechdel was a child, she had a "huge oversize colouring book of E.H. Shepard's illustrations for The Wind in the Willows."
"Dad had read me bits of the story from the real book. In one scene, the charming sociopath Mr. Toad purchases a gypsy caravan. I was filling this in one day with my favourite colour, midnight blue."
Alison's father says, "What are you doing? That's the canary-coloured caravan! Here. I'll do the rest in yellow, and your blue side will be in shadow. Look, by adding thin layers of goldenrod and yellow-orange, I get a richer colour." Alison, meanwhile, has wandered off. "It was a crayonic tour de force."

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Jul 18, 2015

Fun Home is an autobiographical graphic novel about Alison Bechdel's relationship with her father Bruce. The book covers a lot of different serious themes about family secrets, location, literature, and LGBT identity. Some events are retold in the book with a slightly different perspective. This mirrors the book itself that is the grown up Alison looking back at the diaries of her younger self and trying to make sense of events that happened in her childhood. This is a wonderful graphic novel that captures Alison Bechdel's conflicted feelings about her family and the giant house she grew up in.

PimaLib_LGBT Jun 15, 2015

The 2015 Tony award winning musical Fun Home was based on this graphic novel!

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danielestes
May 04, 2015

Ever since I read a snippet of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 I've wanted to read the whole thing. And now, years later, I finally got around to it. I'm sorry I waited so long. The moments of deadpan hilarity are perfectly balanced with the moments of isolated desperation. I don't know if Alison Bechdel was that well-known before its publication, but she's certainly earned her celebrity status since then. In fact, as I write this, I've just learned that not only has the stage production of Fun Home opened on Broadway but it's also been nominated for 12 Tony awards.

I have a 2-rule maxim for comics: (1) Great writing can carry not-so-great artwork while great artwork cannot do the same—not even close—for lackluster writing. And (2) the quality and style of the artwork has to emotionally match the tone of the story. Fun Home hits these marks and more.

I know nothing of Bechdel's past other than what's portrayed here. I sense she was working through a few skeletons while writing Fun Home, like she was trying to make sense of what happened with the benefit of several decades of hindsight.

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LibraryMaker
Apr 12, 2015

One of the better graphic novel/biographies that I have read. The art is also all sorts of amazing.

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uncommonreader
Jan 03, 2015

This autobiographic, graphic novel is about a girl becoming aware of her sexuality, her slightly eccentric family, and her relationship with her closeted gay father. I found it self-indulgent and felt that she was mining her family for commercial success.

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notthatjenn
Oct 17, 2014

It's hard to say that a story involving repressed sexuality, dysfunctional families, and a hard path to the self is a fun read, but if it's possible for these to be fun, they are in Fun Home. I love stories and I love being surprised. Every time I thought the story was veering off course, I was delighted to see how the author was actually building a complex and nuanced story.

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woofs4
Oct 06, 2014

I truly enjoyed the novel and found it quite moving. Alison's ~ yes, you feel that close to her ~ occasional desire to scream certain truths was something I could identify with. This was the first time I read a graphic novel from start to finish. (I was a snob about and yet at the same time intimidated by the form.) I believe it was a fulfilling and heartfelt way to be introduced.

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joywolf83
Jan 20, 2014

very repetative.

ser_library Nov 08, 2013

the graphics made it a quick read, and i did not need to finish it because the ending just continues the events already repeatedly described.

Mark_Daly Oct 03, 2013

Bechdel extends the autobio comics form by including numerous allusions to Camus, Proust, Joyce, and other literary greats. The result is an occasionally wordy, intellectualized meditation on her youth with her troubled, closeted father. Still, it's a brave work, intimate and frank where it counts.

KateHillier Sep 11, 2013

Often presented to me as an essential for readers of graphica, I can't say that I was disappointed. The term "tragicomic" is certainly apropos here. Alison Bechdel writes (and draws) of her life growing up with distant parents, specifically her closeted gay father. As she begins to understand her own sexual identity she looks to her father's life as an answer for hers.

It's a painful story as much as it can be seen as funny at points. It's an LGBT history lesson in someways as much as it is about a daughter trying to understand her father - and one of the few ways they manage to connect is through books.

If you're a fan of memoir, of LGBT stories, graphica or not, you will love this.

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tomandmatt
Jun 24, 2013

Don't be put off because it's a graphic novel; the writing is terrific!

JCLBeckyC Jun 15, 2013

Bechdel masterfully weaves literary allusion, family stories, and LGBT history into this amazing graphic memoir. If you think you don't like "comic books" you are doing yourself a disservice by passing up this hefty achievement. Introspective, insightful, and witty. One of my favorite books of all time.


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