Fun Home

Fun Home

A Family Tragicomic

Graphic Novel - 2006
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This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned 'fun home,' as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.--From publisher description.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, ©2006.
ISBN: 9780618477944
0618477942
9780618871711
0618871713
Characteristics: 232 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

"Alison Bechdel’s beloved graphic novel is an elaborately layered account of life and artifice, family silence and revelation, springing from her father’s suicide."

This book appears on ALA’s 2015 top challenges list. “Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian... Read More »

A powerful memoir of cartoonist Alison Bechdel about her childhood in rural Pennsylvania and her trying relationship with her father.

An essential book in the graphic novel medium, Fun Home lives up to its reputation. In a narrative that is both gripping and circuitous, Alison Bechdel tells the story of growing up and self-discovery within a brilliant, unusual, and troubled family.


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SnoIsleLib_AlyssaS Jan 15, 2019

Alison and her brother call their family's funeral home, where they live, the "Fun Home" for short. This graphic novel memoir appeals on multiple levels. Though Alison Bechdel's philosophical ponderings can be intimidating, they work seamlessly into the darkly humorous tale of tragic family drama and personal discovery. Its frank portrayal of lesbian love and coming out have made it a target for challenges in schools libraries.

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Lady_Librarian
Nov 19, 2018

This was an okay graphic novel. While I appreciated hearing about the author's life and learning about her complicated relationship with her father I was kind of bored the whole time.

VaughanPLMichael Nov 09, 2018

I love books like these. They really humble me in making me feel like an unintellectual. I can only touch or caress the brilliance of Bechdel, and even still, only grasp only some of it. This goes with many of the works that quoted.

A great way to present a memoir with very heavy concept.

ArapahoeLauraRose Jul 27, 2018

Next time someone tells you "graphic novels aren't REAL literature," hand them this. WOW but Bechdel is one smart lady! On the surface, Bechdel's tragicomic memoir is about her relationship with her father, and about coming out as a lesbian, which she did just before her father's death. But there are so many other layers! Among other things, Bechdel's memoir is jammed packed with literary references. Some, explicit in the narrative, play a strong role in her relationship with and understanding of her father. The illustrations carry other references, including the titles of a plethora of lesbian-feminist literature; familiar to lesbians of an age with Bechdel, and embedded in LGBTQ collective cultural heritage.

JessicaGma May 08, 2018

I now know why this is considered to be a top memoir in graphic novels. It's dark but also sort of heartbreakingly funny. Worth reading

GeeksInTheLibrary Oct 19, 2017

The author recounts her fraught history with her distant father, who - late in life - she discovered was also gay. Good for fans for warts and all family dramas and awkward holiday dinners.

SCL_Justin Jul 25, 2017

Alison Bechdel’s book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a memoir in comics form. It’s mostly about growing up and dealing with her father’s homosexuality (at the same time she was coming out as a lesbian) and his criminal behaviour with some of his students, and his death. Which may have been a suicide.

She doesn’t tell it straightforwardly, but circles around events and brings things back and forth through time echoing dreams the way memory does at its best. It starts with the house her father was constantly renovating. It deals with life in a funeral home. There are neglected dreams and OCD episodes. It’s painful and terrible and everything seems fraught with meaning.

It’s very much a personal story. It’s the kind of story that makes you ask “how do the people she wrote about feel about this?” It’s courageous and self-absorbed in a way I can’t help but admire. Really great work.

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andavis8
Jul 21, 2017

I read it because my husband and I saw the musical before we left D.C. I think that was actually the last piece of theatre we saw before we moved. It was a decent performance. At the time, I was struck by the simplicity and strategic repetition of the lyrics. But I've been incredibly impressed how much the songs have stuck with me and how much I've listened to the cast album since.

I think going from the musical to the source material made me appreciate how much liberty Lisa Kron took with Bechdal's work. It was an adaptation and they exist definitively as two different works, yet there is also a way in which they harmonize.

Fun Home has powerful and skillful allusions to literary masterpieces that I am so glad Kron did not try to tackle. It worked incredibly well in print, in part because there was time for Bechdal to do the work to set it up. I think sometimes it felt a little forced, then she would keep pushing and a point or an illustration would just make it resonate and feel worth it.

There is a wit, an honesty, and a willingness to demonstrate beautiful (if not brutal) questions that drives this work. And I will never look at a package of Sunbeam bread again. Seriously, the way she litter that loaf of bread throughout the book is astounding.

LPL_ShirleyB Jun 14, 2017

This is such a well-written complex & intense​ autobiographical story of the author's coming of age in a dysfunctional family--focused on the father's abusive, but charismatic personality!
This book is a 3-time award winner: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/Biography, Stonewall Book Awards - Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award and GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book.

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BREATHLESSMAHONEY
May 08, 2017

I'm usually not a GN fan but this was hard to put down.

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Lady_Librarian
Nov 19, 2018

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pchakerian
Nov 29, 2010

Sexual Content: Some nudity and sexual acts.

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emkeller
Jul 03, 2012

"If there was ever a bigger pansy than my father, it was Marcel Proust."

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