Jack Cheng's Reviews > Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

Read in June, 2012

A sequel of sorts to Fun Home, about Bechdel's coming out and her relationship with her father, a closeted gay man who committed suicide, Are You My Mother? deals with her surviving parent. Part of the conflict with Bechdel's mother is the fact that she wrote so intimately about her family in the previous book. Bechdel's mother comes across as very intelligent, culturally inclined, and not overly supportive in a warm fuzzy way -- but an effective intellectual critic of Bechdel's work.

The book is really about Bechdel dealing with her mother and she invokes and illustrates psychoanalysis (her own, as well as the life of Donald Winnicott) and feminist theory and literature (Friedan, a serendipitous relationship with Adrienne Rich). I think Bechdel is a terrific draftsman, on the order of Herge with clean lines and beautifully composed frames and pages, so I loved seeing her illustrations wander around to Virginia Woolf and other thinkers, but was disappointed toward the end at how many panels were basically highlighted texts. Overall, not as much happens in this book as in Fun Home (less action type plot and less character development) and it's much more narcissistic. It's also pretty deep and dense and probably a Master's thesis or two could be written about it, but I did not care for it as much as her earlier work.

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