JoLene's Reviews > Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
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Jun 05, 12

bookshelves: grapic-novel, library, bio-memoir, non-fiction, read-2012
Read from June 03 to 04, 2012


In April, I read Alison Bechdel's much heralded work, Fun Home which was about a graphic novel memoir about her life with her difficult father. Within a week of finishing, I saw a review for Bechdel's new memoir focusing on her relationship with her mother. Even in the first work, there was a distance between Alison and her mother and Alison uses psychological theories and her own therapy sessions to work through some of the issues.

I didn't like this book nearly as well as the first. In the first work, each chapter had a theme based on literature because books was one of the things that Alison had in common with her father. This had Virginia Woolf as a background but was mostly focused on theories about growing up, especially of a therapist named Donald Winnicott (may be wrong name, but I already returned book to library). I'm not really interested in theories in psychology and being a "fly on the wall" of Alison's therapy sessions only made Alison seem very self-absorbed.

This story seemed to jump around in time a lot more within the chapters and but at the same time, it didn't cover much new territory. We see more glimpses of Alison in adult relationships and we see the reaction of her mother to the publication of the first book --- none of this was super interesting.

Overall, I was really disappointed with this work --- probably because I really liked the first one. Even though her father was a jerk, things happened and were interesting. This book just felt like the internal workings of someone trying to figure out why their life didn't turn out the way they thought. Note, if you do like internal drama and psychological theories, then this book may appeal.
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