Jennifer's Reviews > Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
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's review
May 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: adult-books, graphic-novels
Read in May, 2012

Dense, dark and deep. I didn't get the "comic" part of this "comic drama" unless it's the absurdity of the the uber-talented and tormented Bechdel trying and failing to elicit her somewhat cold and intellectual mother's love and then finally coming to terms with her mother's inability to react to her in the way she wants. I didn't think Fun Home (which I loved) was all that funny either, even though it was labeled a "tragicomic." These are both extremely personal stories of self enlightenment and analysis that make you turn a discerning eye on your own family relationships. Just like in Fun Home when Bechdel examines her father's life and lies using classic literature, here she dissects her relationship with her mother through the writings of Frued, Jung, Virginia Woolf and a 1920's pediatric psychologist named Donald Winnicott. All of the writing excerpts she includes makes me want to read more. In fact, this may be the book that finally moves me to read To the Lighthouse. Fascinating stuff, but certainly not an easy read or a light one. Though it can sometimes feel navel-gazing, I find Bechdel's willingness to publicly examine her life and therapy in minute detail incredibly brave.
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