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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  79,515 Ratings  ·  6,446 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
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published June 8th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company
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Andrew Langmead She is the same person who popularized what people call the Bechdel Test (she has said she'd prefer people call it the Bechdel-Wallace Test) with a…moreShe is the same person who popularized what people call the Bechdel Test (she has said she'd prefer people call it the Bechdel-Wallace Test) with a cartoon she created 30 years ago
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
Jun 18, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it liked it

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




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
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
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
Oct 25, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Works doubly as a hugely terrific autobiography & a megaengaging graphic novel. In FUN HOME, there is a tremendous longing to merge both of these Arts. The intent is always to make print as compelling as the pictorials they are made to convey. Astute, cheeky & enthralling, it brings together disparate themes like 'Wind in the Willows" and "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "Catcher in the Rye", as well as A Chorus Line & Joyce's Ulysses: pretty much a choose your own literature ty ...more
This graphic memoir has been on my to read list for what feels like ages, so I felt entirely satisfied when I completed reading it.

In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A f

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
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
Darth J

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
Feb 16, 2017 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So dark & so honest. I loved it.
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

This is a terrific book.

The graphic memoir 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 to the same point in time, when he was run over by a truck - possibly accidentally, possibly as a suicide.

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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Confession time: The only reason I read Fun Home was because it was on the list of most challenged or banned books last year, I had already read more than half of the others on the list and there was a snowball’s chance in hell I’d opt to read The Bible for pleasure.

I had also never heard of Alison Bechdel prior to snatching this one up from the library display (such a badass, right????) and had to Google “The Bechdel Test” to find ou
Nandakishore Varma
Apr 30, 2015 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
Sep 24, 2011 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
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
Sep 26, 2007 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
Cristina 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
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
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
Peter Derk
Mar 04, 2009 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?"
Jun 07, 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
May 19, 2017 that_scarlet_girl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sexual shame is in itself a kind of death."

Ο υπότιτλος του το περιγράφει εξαίσια. Ένα οικογενειακό τραγικόμικ. Πολύ προσωπικό, πολύ αληθινό. Ένα ασπρόμαυρο κόμικ με τη ζωή της Άλισον αλλά και της οικογένειάς της, κυρίως του πατέρα της, που πολλές φορές παρουσιάζεται μέσα από λογοτεχνικούς ήρωες και συγγραφείς.
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
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
Oct 23, 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
Jun 08, 2015 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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!
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.
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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.
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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.” 61 likes
“It was not a triumphal return. Home, as I had known it, was gone.” 55 likes
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