Patrick's Reviews > Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
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it was amazing

I've known about Bechdel for some time, but I've never gotten around to reading any of her work.

Odds are, you know about her too, even if you're not aware of it. She's the one that invented the appropriately-named Bechdel Test for movies.

If you don't know about the test, it bears talking about. It's almost like a checklist:

1. Does the movie have two female characters in it?

2. Do the two female characters have at least one conversation?

3. Does at least one of their conversations concentrate on something other than a man?

If the answer to any of these is "no" you fail the test.

To me, the truly interesting thing about this test isn't how many movies utterly fail it. It's that when you're first exposed to the test, you're forced to confront how fucked up the gender bias in almost all media is.

Anyway, I picked up the comic because I was curious what her writing was like. And because it's odd to see a graphic novel that's won so much literary attention. (This book has a *ton* of awards and accolades.)

Did I like it? Yes.

It's cleverly written. Very earnest and heartfelt. It's fascinating.

Did I *lurve* it? No.

I admire the craft in the book. It was emotionally engaging without being maudlin. It was artfully constructed. It shared an experience with me that I never would have gained anywhere else. I'd happily recommend it to a lot of my friends.

But for me, that's where it stops. Enjoyment and admiration of the craft. This book is a wonderful example of: "Great books that are not perfectly targeted for me."

Now don't get me wrong. It was fascinating. Books I whole-heartedly enjoy and admire are still in the top 5%. But what really rings the bell that hangs in your heart is mostly a matter of flavor, and this one wasn't quite suited to me.

Is it worth your time? Yes.

That said, you're more likely to enjoy it if you're a recovering English major. Or if you're a fan of queer culture, autobiographical fiction, or non-superhero graphic novels.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 3, 2014 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Ralls I say,put down other's work and get to writing bud! Don't get panties in wad,just eager for book 3.


message 2: by Ben (new)

Ben Simons Eric wrote: "I say,put down other's work and get to writing bud! Don't get panties in wad,just eager for book 3."

Yeah Pat. Don't do anything fun, like read books. Or anything helpful, like sharing your opinions of good books with us. Or professional, like soaking up more good stories with the hope of improving your craft.

Just do what we say. Write all the time, because we, your readers, are obviously self-involved, petulant fuckers.


message 3: by Ben (new)

Ben Simons P.S. Just in case you didn't catch it, Eric. I was mocking you. You twat.

Are you honestly saying he shouldn't read? You're saying that to an author? And you're saying it here? On a website that you should only have for if you love to read?

You unbelievable twat. You feckless, gormless, insipid insuciant entitled little twat.


Lisa O.O Part of me is laughing but the other part of me wants to give Eric a hug after that attack.


message 5: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin O'Brien I read this for a class recently and was fascinated by the experience. I agree I wasn't riveted to it, but I did enjoy it and the illustrations.


message 6: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Lewis Ben wrote: "Eric wrote: "I say,put down other's work and get to writing bud! Don't get panties in wad,just eager for book 3."

Yeah Pat. Don't do anything fun, like read books. Or anything helpful, like sharin..."


o.o I seriously wish I could like this reply, and link back to it for every complaint of similar value.

But back on topic, sometimes all you need is something interesting and entertaining that has a great grasp of the craft, and it sounds like this book hit all of that. Shelving for to-read for when I need something along those lines.


message 7: by Graham (new)

Graham Any movie with a male main character is likely to fail the Bechdel test, as most conversations in movies between non-main characters are about the main character.


Frederike Your ego needs to chill, but cool that you liked the book.


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