I am of the opinion that the most exciting products of a creative mind are those that spring from an artist's neuroses. This is one of the primary rea...moreI am of the opinion that the most exciting products of a creative mind are those that spring from an artist's neuroses. This is one of the primary reasons why I've fallen in love with Alison Bechdel's work.
Her first comic memoir "Fun Home" was a touching investigation into her father's history as a means of reconciling (confirming?) his suicide.
Her second comic memoir focuses on the puzzling state of her relationship with her mother.
The specificity with which she plumbs the depths of her psyche with references to psychological and feminist hallmarks (Winicott, Woolf) allows for universal insight within the mother-daughter dynamic.
I've witnessed my wife struggling with frozen feelings of the kind Bechdel describes and see a compassionate description of what it takes for a woman to crawl from frigid maternal shadows.
The criticisms of this book is that it lacks the forward movement of "Fun Home". It is a more circular narrative re-tracing Bechdel's personal analysis. The circularity of her writing however allows the psychological examination she documents to transcend the literal. It is truly wonderful and leads to an ultimate reality presented in its closing pages that brings insightful relief to the painful journey presented. (less)
I wish I could give +++ to the star rating here at Goodreads. This book is wonderful. The honest voice revealed through a combination of illustration,...moreI wish I could give +++ to the star rating here at Goodreads. This book is wonderful. The honest voice revealed through a combination of illustration, poetic reality and autobiography is incredible.
I began my love for reading when I traded a milky-way candy bar with my brother for an issue of a DC comics horror title. My primary love growing up was reading comic-books where I could lose time in the meditative practice of issue upon issue of a super-hero title.
The comic-book form of this work combined with its substance drawn from memory remind me why reading is a refuge and an act of self-discovery. Bechdel has a handle on memoir that seems to rival the memory monologues of Spaulding Grey and the confessions of Joan Didion. Memoir is a form that is being over-worked in the literary market-place where facile self-congratulation flies off the shelves (e.g. "Eat. Pray. Love." anyone?) but Bechdel does memory justice here where she avoids sentiment for an unwavering look into herself through her dead father and reveals that as we grow we long to feel safe and know our parents will catch our fall (despite all evidence they can't or won't). I loved this book. (less)