by Alison Bechdel
“If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you'd have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.” — Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
From cult favorite comic artist Alison Bechdel, this memoir is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned “fun home,” as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic and redemptive.
Fun Home won the 2006 Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, a Lambda Book Award, an Eisner award, and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award from the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table. The book was also nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and was declared one of the 10 Best Books of 2006 by Time Magazine.
For On the Same Page, the Library has purchased the Mariner Books trade paperback edition of Fun Home. It is also available at the Library in a Spanish language edition.
About the Author
Alison Bechdel has been a careful archivist of her own life and has kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983, she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized “Dykes to Watch Out For” strip, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period” (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as “one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century.” The strip recently celebrated its 25th birthday with the publication of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For.
Bechdel has done work for a number of publications, including Ms., Slate, the Village Voice, the Advocate, Out, and many other newspapers, Web sites, comic books, and zines. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated. She lives near Burlington, Vermont.
“Fun Home is a beautiful, assured piece of work, by far the best thing Bechdel has done in over two decades as a cartoonist. Her language and drawings are impressively sensitive to the details of her physical experience and to the trickier folds of her own self-consciousness; she dives over and over into the cloudy waters of her past, swimming deeper every time.”
“If Vladimir Nabokov had been a lesbian feminist graphic novelist, he might have produced something like this witty, erudite memoir. The author of the cult comic strip “Dykes To Watch Out For” shows us the snub-nosed young Alison navigating her parents’ gothic mansion, her father’s secrets and her own coming out.”
“Just when I thought I couldn’t take another dysfunctional childhood memoir . . . along comes Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, a splendid autobiography in the refreshingly tart (and svelte!) form of a comic book. . . . More than the witty art, more than the mordant prose, it is [her] openness that distinguishes Bechdel’s generous and intelligent work. Unlike so many memoirs, this one never tries to set the record straight, and while Fun Home takes only a couple of hours to read, it has a depth and sweetness few can match at five times the length.”
“Hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best . . . [A] story that's quiet, dignified, and not easy to put down..”
— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Bechdel's memoir offers a graphic narrative of uncommon richness, depth, literary resonance, and psychological complexity . . . Though this will likely be stocked with graphic novels, it shares as much in spirit with the work of Mary Karr, Tobias Wolff, and other contemporary memoirists of considerable literary accomplishment.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Brave and forthright and insightful — exactly what Alison Bechdel does best.”
— Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
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