Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home is another graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. Bechdel grew up in a funeral home, from which the book takes its title, in the small town of Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. The autobiography primarily focuses on Bechdel’s coming out and her relationship with her closeted father. However, the book is about her father’s life as much as her own. The catalyst is her father’s “maybe” suicide, which takes place a few months after she comes out to her parents.

Fun Home is deceptively simplistic, drawn in black ink and green color wash. Still, it took her seven years to finish the book due to her exacting attention to detail. She used extensive of photographic references, for both the figures and backgrounds, posing for many of the frames herself.

This faithfulness echoes her experiences with OCD as depicted in the memoir. At age 10, she began keeping exacting diaries that she constantly felt the need to qualify. Fun Home seems to rail against this while still acknowledging that it can never be an entirely accurate picture of her family. This only serves to reinforce her feeling that her father’s death is somehow her fault. She concludes that his death was a suicide, when reality is much less clear.


3 thoughts on “Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

  1. What did you make of the byline under the title, “a family tragicomic?” I can definitely see the tragic aspects to the novel, but felt that any of the comedy was on a much subtler level….

  2. I’m not sure that she’s necessarily referring to comedy, but to the graphic format in the byline. I think she’s also playing on how they called the funeral home “Fun Home,” so there’s a bit of sarcasm there as well.

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