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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  64,500 Ratings  ·  5,397 Reviews
A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel 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 fo
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Hardcover, 234 pages
Published June 8th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company (first published June 5th 2006)
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Timothy Rowe I read this for a book group, and many in the group felt that there was psychological abuse, so it might need a trigger warning for that. Not sexual…moreI read this for a book group, and many in the group felt that there was psychological abuse, so it might need a trigger warning for that. Not sexual violence, though.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Dec 04, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
THIS JUST IN : P BRYANT FAILS HIP GRAPHIC NOVEL TEST

Fun Home, a cripplingly hip graphic novel, is....

Yes?

It's....


YES??

Well, let's see, it's, you know, all right, good, yes, nods head, hummphs into beard, pulls earlobe, raises eyebrows, waves hands in a vague direction, shifts about in seat. You know. Don't get me wrong. It was good. Yes. Cool, clever, really hip, I mean, really, as far as I can tell, my hipometer needs a new battery I think; it was not the least bit funny, but that's not such a
...more
Emily
Sep 15, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2007
Having never felt much inclination toward the graphic novel genre, I accepted a copy of Fun Home by Alison Bechdel on loan only because a coworker promised that I could finish it in one hour and forty minutes--almost precisely the amount of time it would take to travel from the office to my home in Connecticut, where I had plans to spend the weekend.

One hour and fifty-five minutes later, when my mom pulled in her mini-van, I was close to the end, but not there yet. I'm a slow reader. But Fun Hom
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Meg Powers
May 05, 2010 Meg Powers rated it it was ok
Reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic put me in the same irritated and impatient mood experienced when reading Toni Morrison's The Song of Solomon in high school: both books feel like major wank-offs to the writers' cumulative reading endeavors. To put it in less crude terms, both books overflow with self-conscious references to classic literature (both use The Odyssey in a major way). However, this is not a review of The Song of Solomon, so I suppose I will set aside that grudge for now.

This is
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Darth J
Hmmm...



Well, I wanted to read this for some time, mostly because Alison Bechdel is probably one of the more prominent names that both authors and readers are aware of these days due to her test. Anyway, I wanted to like this more than I did. You see, I'm not really a fan of graphic novels, but it worked here to illustrate her points. However, this whole book felt more like a project of self-analysis than a commercial product. It was extremely personal, yet cold and detached--like Alison's parent
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Samadrita
3.5/5

Fun Home's biggest flaw is its self-conscious, droll narrative voice that diminishes its raw earnestness at times. Alison Bechdel imposes her obsessive-compulsive desire for extracting meaning from even the most commonplace of occurrences on to a narrative of coming to terms with personal loss. And this whole exercize of drawing parallels between fictional and real life tragedies and pivotal emotional beats becomes too trite all too soon. Maybe she should have known when to put the kibosh o
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Patrick
Jan 03, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I've known about Bechdel for some time, but I've never gotten around to reading any of her work.

Odds are, you know about her too, even if you're not aware of it. She's the one that invented the appropriately-named Bechdel Test for movies.

If you don't know about the test, it bears talking about. It's almost like a checklist:

1. Does the movie have two female characters in it?

2. Do the two female characters have at least one conversation?

3. Does at least one of their conversations concentrate o
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Oriana
Book #4 for Jugs & Capes, my all-girl graphic-novel book club!

You can also read this review (slightly tweaked) on CCLaP.

***

I've been wanting to read this book for years. Isn't it crazy that I had to start an entire graphic novel book club to somehow give myself permission to read it?

Perhaps. But who cares about the machinations I forced myself through to get to it? I am so glad I did. This book is simply spectacular. It is dense, fraught with meaning, stuffed with prose and complimented by
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Sara
Apr 27, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Folks stuck in LAX
I went out and bought this book immediately after hearing a paper on it at a recent conference. The paper had to do with narrative strategies that children use for uncovering and witnessing their parents' trauma -- in this book, the narrator Allison tries to piece together her father's life into a narrative she wants to read as that of a closeted gay man. In the narrator's logic, her coming out of the closet prompted her father's suicide four months later. After a life of secret affairs and sedu ...more
Ted
Updated

This is a terrific book.

I would guess that a graphic memoir has never been published before, and t shows you what I knew about the graphic format! The format added an extraordinary dimension to the story. (I can't recall ever having read a graphic novel before, so in that sense the entire experience of this book was new to me.)

The book was published when Bechdel was in her mid-40s, and tells the story of her own life, up to just before her twentieth birthday, and her father’s life, up
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Nandakishore Varma
Feb 20, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it
Alison Bechdel's Fun Home is the third comic I have read which is meant exclusively for adults (after The Complete Persepolis and Maus, I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History & Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began). I must say that out of the three, this one is the most brilliantly drawn and narrated. The three stars are a personal thing.

Alison is a lesbian. This book is an attempt on her part to come to terms with the fact that her father was gay, and possibly a paedophile, somethin
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Kaion
Nov 08, 2015 Kaion rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic, unfinshed, memoir
Honestly, I have no idea why this is considered such a classic of graphic memoirs. I'm not an expert on this form, and feel self-conscious critiquing graphic literature because of this, but let's work through this.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic details growing in a cold home where all the occupants isolated themselves in artistic pursuit. Alison Bechdel (of the Bechdel test) particularly focuses on her relationship with her closeted father, who killed himself soon after she came out as a lesbian
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Earline
just insert "Fun Home" in place of "House of Leaves" in Mickey's review:


This book looks at you with this smug fucking smile on it's face, daring you to say that you don't like it, knowing that masses of people are going to go along with it because they don't want to look stupid. That's what this is. It's the fucking Radiohead of books. Well, House of Leaves, I am not stupid and I'm calling your bullshit. Fuck you
Andvari Leitón
Mi primera lectura de novela gráfica no podía haber sido mejor. Cuando Jennifer (una de las libreras de la Come In, en Barcelona) me recomendó empezar con Fun Home y lo hizo con tanta emoción, no pude resistirme a llevármelo a casa conmigo. Y lo empecé, y seguí leyendo, y fijándome en cada detalle de cada página mientras me dejaba envolver por la vida de Alison Bechdel, su relación con su padre y una infancia dolorosa con algunos momentos felices.

Fun Home trata temas como la homosexualidad, la i
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Jessica
Dec 04, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
I wonder pretty often what the point of writing books is, mostly because, well, you know, there are already so many of them...

More narrowly, I think I kind of understand why people feel compelled to write memoirs, but I do wonder -- as I remain stalled out on page 236 of Martin Amis's Experience -- why anyone ever reads them.

Fun Home answers both of these questions for me, plus a third larger one about what the point is of being alive. It seems like sort of a confusing and overwhelming waste som
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Aubrey
I could dislike this if I really put my mind to it, but acting out of spite appeals about as much as following out of habit, so I will trust in my years of youthful reading of words and/or images to do the instinctual judgment work for me. It's pitiful, though, how alike the context of this work is to Delta of Venus as Highlander breeds of their respective genres. So there's a lesbian Künstler-graphic-roman running around the top stacks of lauded reading and breakthrough novelty. Why aren't ther ...more
KFed
Jun 14, 2009 KFed rated it really liked it
Alison Bechdel’s comic-form autobiography Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic begins and ends with strong textual and visual images of her father. The book’s first full drawing on the title page of chapter one is, in fact, a recreation of an old photograph of the enigmatic man. It sums up all that is impossible to capture about the man’s sexual and emotional being in one frame. As well, it sums up everything that makes this work artistically and thematically remarkable, an important contribution to li ...more
MJ Nicholls
Apr 08, 2012 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing
Shatters all my preconceptions of the graphic novel, reassures me of the form’s capacity for dense literally allusiveness, intellectual analysis and philosophical ponderings. Brilliant. The writer/artist was raised in a marvellously retro setting—a refurbished mansion kitted out like a Russian estate, with a snobbish bookworm for a father and an upper-class actress manqué for a mother (both of whom taught high-school English). The story attempts grand parallels between the author and her father, ...more
Rebecca Foster
This memoir in graphic novel form is super. Bechdel puts the ‘fun’ in both dysfunctional family and funeral home – the family business her father inherited in small-town Pennsylvania. All through her 1970s upbringing, as Alison grew up coveting men’s shirts and feeling strange quivers of suspicion when she encountered the word “lesbian” in the dictionary, her father was leading a double life, sleeping with the younger men who babysat his kids or helped out with his twin passions of gardening and ...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
This year I've been on a quest to read more graphic novels, and Fun Home has been on my list for a while. Tomorrow, I am seeing the musical adaptation on Broadway! So I figured there was no better time to finally pick up the book.

And WOW, I was blown away. Alison Bechdel's graphic novel is beautifully written and illustrated. It's emotional, funny, tragic, and engrossing from start to finish. I really loved it and I'm excited to see the play!
BrokenTune
Nov 01, 2015 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The latest foray into the realms of the graphic novel led me to Bechdel's autobiographical works about her parents.

Fun Home, the earlier of the two books, describes her growing up and relationship with her father. Without going into much of the plot and issues, Fun Home offers an exploration into Bechdel's coming to terms with outgrowing the illusions of her childhood whilst exploring works of literature. In a way, one of the aspects that have kept me hooked to the story is Bechdel's connection
...more
Peter Derk
Sep 15, 2015 Peter Derk rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Here's why I give this book only a single star and didn't finish it.

Alison Bechdel is smart. And here's how my relationship goes with people who are chronically, unendingly smart usually goes.

1. I think to myself, "I want to talk to some smart people who have big ideas."

2. I avail myself of a smart person.

3. Smart person tells me an oral sex story, comparing the events to Homeric writings, perhaps even using the word "Homeric".

4. Smart person asks a lot of questions like, "Have you read Proust?"
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Sesana
It's no coincidence that I read and reviewed this book the day after the musical adaptation of Fun Home won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was, after all, seeing that it had been nominated for twelve Tonys that gave me the push to finally read it. If you missed it last night, and you have any interest whatsoever in musical theater, please take a moment to watch Ring of Keys, because it's really lovely. And worth pointing out that every actor involved in that piece was nominated, an ...more
Jordan
Jun 25, 2007 Jordan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indie_comics
An exceptionally well-written piece of work that will hopefully open some doors to people unwilling to take comic art seriously.
That said, I can't help but compare it to the benchmarks of graphic novel memoirs - "Blankets," "Maus," and "Persepolis" - and it falls short. It just didn't draw me in the way I should have been. She relies too heavily on captions and telling us what happened, rather than letting her characters speak to each other and show us. She doesn't give the art room to do what i
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Jason
Dec 16, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was as excellent as people have told me it would be. Loving the intertextuality here and the way Bechdel examines memory through the reading life of her father and herself. Keen to learn more about the adaptation of this graphic novel into a musical, especially how it treats the heavy focus on literature and intertextuality.
El
May 02, 2016 El rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The F-Word
Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist, which is an area that sort of fascinates me because I can't draw a consistent comic strip to save my life. Each panel would look different. So when someone can do it convincingly, I'm intrigued. Bechdel intrigues me because not only can she do that, but she can tell her own story in that format. When you decide to write a family memoir that deals with something so complicated such as homosexuality, putting it out there can be really difficult. Then when you decide ...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
May 25, 2015 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: jo
Shatteringly and heart-wrenchingly good. Three things I don't generally read (or don't read enough of maybe?): graphic novels, memoirs, lesbian fiction. All three of these walls come tumbling down in this. The depth of feeling and thought, the honesty, is extraordinary, and to have it conveyed in graphic novel form is a little--no, a lot--mind-blowing. (In addition to the clarity and beauty of her writing, Bechdel is a *fantastic* graphic artist). (Perhaps) more thoughts to come after Are You M ...more
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
I was running the sound board this evening for another Oklahoma! show, and reading this while I waited for the house to settle in so we could get started. An older lady glanced over and said, with a bit of obvious disdain, "Looks like you're reading something that's really intellectual." I smiled and said, "Actually, yes. The musical adaptation just won big at the Tonys two weeks ago." I briefly explained what the book entailed and the fact that it was a true story; she shut up, smiled and sat d ...more
La Mala  ✌
EDIT: Abril, 2015

[Releyendo e a poquito. ¡Qué ganas de comprarlo en físico!]


Reseña Original: Enero 2015

Estoy un poco revolucionada, así que la siguiente reseña es un desvarío en pocos párrafos. Sepan disculpar.

"Not only we were inverts. We were inversions of one another. While I was trying to compensate for something unmanly in him. He was attempting to express something femenine through me."

description

Puede sonar absurdo decir que identificada me siento con esto, absurdo y cliché-- se me sale la voz in
...more
Teresa
Nov 13, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, g-bd
Aqui está mais um "filho" que adotei por culpa do Goodreads...
Se eu não andasse sempre por aqui a bisbilhotar nos livros alheios nunca o teria lido, porque tem duas características que, à partida, rejeito: trata-se de uma auto-biografia em banda desenhada.

Alison Bechdel - uma mulher corajosa - expõe uma parte da sua vida de uma forma criativa e enriquecedora. A figura principal é o seu pai, um homem rígido com a família, misterioso e com comportamentos socialmente não aceitáveis. Através de des
...more
Jimmy
Aug 21, 2015 Jimmy rated it liked it
Recommended to Jimmy by: orianna
The 7 chapters in this graphic memoir feel less like she's telling you a story from beginning to end... and more like she's telling you the same story 7 times. But each time, she reveals a little bit more, either contextual, historical, or personal analysis. It's more of a graphic-personal-essay than a graphic-memoir, in that she is trying to work something out, trying to make some meaning out of her past by looking at it from several different angles. The point is not to tell a good story, the ...more
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The F-word: * May NON-FICTION selection FUN HOME 15 27 May 07, 2016 09:54AM  
KC Queer Readers: Your thoughts 3 8 Feb 26, 2016 11:34AM  
Graphic Novels 4 21 Feb 17, 2016 06:35AM  
500 Great Books B...: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic - Alison Bechdel - Ted Schmeckpeper 13 55 Nov 10, 2015 03:38PM  
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Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, in 2006 she became a best-selling and critically acclaimed author with her graphic memoir Fun Home.
More about Alison Bechdel...

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“I suppose that a lifetime spent hiding one's erotic truth could have a cumulative renunciatory effect. Sexual shame is in itself a kind of death.” 44 likes
“It was not a triumphal return. Home, as I had known it, was gone.” 44 likes
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