Kelly's Reviews > Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
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's review
Jun 24, 12

Read in June, 2012

I really did not like this book until half way through it. Really, I am being generous with that. I did not like it until three quarter's of the way through. It's a frustrating read. It's like going to someone's therapy sessions that you are not invested in. Actually, I think I can take away my delimiter of "not" invested in. I'd bet anyone's therapy would be boring to hear. I'm just not that curious.

I loved "Fun Home." Great writing, beautiful drawings, every page had several meanings. This book is not "Fun Home". It's less laden with multiple readings, though there are stellar moments. It's often overly intellectual, but you eventually realize that is the point. Bechdel's mania requires that intellectual distancing.

Although difficult to get through, the last two chapters are worth all the build up to get to that point. I don't think the drawings are as interesting as "Fun Home," but the meanings you can walk away with are greater than "Fun Home." (How many ways can you draw a patient with a therapist and two women talking on the phone?) Like many great books, "Are you my mother" deepens your understanding of the world, yourself, history, and the meaning(s) of our lives.

Were I to choose between the two books, I have to admit "Fun Home" would be my choice most days. But, "Are you my mother" has real value, it's just more difficult and less fun.

Finally - I wish she would not call this a book about her mother in the beginning. I get the reason why she does it, but it is not a book about her mother. A small quibble.

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