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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

by

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This breakout book by Alison Bechdel takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings and — like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis — a story exhilaratingly 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.

Review:

"This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication than Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a 'still life with children' that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Bechdel's memoir offers a graphic narrative of uncommon richness, depth, literary resonance and psychological complexity....The results are painfully honest, occasionally funny and penetratingly insightful." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Bechdel's long-running Dykes to Watch Out For is arguably the best comic strip going, and Fun Home is one of the very best graphic novels ever." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[S]plendid....More than the witty art, more than the mordant prose, it is this openness that distinguishes Bechdel's generous and intelligent work....[I]t has a depth and sweetness few can match at five times the length. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"A pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions... Bechdel's rich language and precise images combine to create a lush piece of work — a memoir where concision and detail are melded for maximum, obsessive density." Sean Wilsey, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[R]iveting....Fun Home is a beautiful, assured piece of work, by far the best thing Bechdel has done in over two decades as a cartoonist....Bechdel's cartooning has transmuted his life and death into an extraordinary book..." Douglas Wolk, Salon.com

Review:

"[A] revelation: Here is a panel-and-drawings book that feels like a true literary achievement, something with characters who baffle and disappoint and break hearts the way people do in life and in the best of prose." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you'd have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home." Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

Review:

"Alison Bechdel — she's one of the best, one to watch out for." Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor

Review:

"Stupendous. Alison Bechdel's mesmerizing feat of familial resurrection is a rare, prime example of why graphic novels have taken over the conversation about American literature. The details — visual and verbal, emotional and elusive — are devastatingly captured by an artist in total control of her craft." Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys

Review:

"Brave and forthright and insightful — exactly what Alison Bechdel does best." Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

Review:

"The year's best (graphic) novel is brilliantly conceived and fearlessly executed, and you will not soon forget your journey through it." Portland Oregonian

Review:

"At times, Bechdel's prose gets a little opaque — not because she's a bad writer, but because I didn't pay attention in high school....Fun Home is an intricate document of a childhood that, ultimately, was enough like mine — only with a few more literary references — that for me, it worked." Jill Soloway, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Bechdel's drawing style is simple but effective." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"A comic book for lovers of words! Bechdel's rich language and precise images combine to create a lush piece of work." Sean Wilsey, New York Times

Synopsis:

Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between andldquo;crazyandrdquo; and andldquo;creativeandrdquo; in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers.

and#160;

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.

Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia Oandrsquo;Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to andldquo;cureandrdquo; an otherwise brilliant mind.

Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forneyandrsquo;s memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artistandrsquo;s work, as she shares her own story through bold black-and-white images and evocative prose.

Synopsis:

In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.

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, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

About the Author

Alison Bechdel has been a careful archivist of her own life and kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983 she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized Dykes to Watch Out For strip, "one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period" (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as "one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century."

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Steve Fuson, January 5, 2010 (view all comments by Steve Fuson)
If graphic novels were organized into sections the way prose novels are (e.g. Romance, Science Fiction, etc.) there are very few which would be classified as literature, but Fun Home belongs in that category. An autobiographical book that beautifully analyzes Alison Bechdel’s homosexual awakening and her relationship with her father through memory and metaphor.

Transcending the graphic novel genre, Fun Home won not only comics industry awards, but Best Book awards as well. It was on over two-dozen top 10 lists for 2006, named number 1 by a few including Time Magazine. It has also been put on a number top 10 books of the decade lists, including Entertainment Weekly.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
alex barron, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by alex barron)
I loved Fun Home. It's smart, funny, dark and gothic all at once. It's a memoir and a coming of age story of sorts but it's also the story of the author's dad and his struggle with his sexuality. And it's a graphic memoir told in obsessive archival detail with photos, notes, and old maps all painstakingly reproduced. I cannot recommend it enough.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Charlotte Smith, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Charlotte Smith)
This book is always the first that comes to me when I see or hear something about recommending books to others or about favourite books. With the millions of thoughts swimming through the average reader's head every day, in my opinion it's quite meaningful when one particular book springs frequently to mind. Bechdel's book is one of beauty and eloquence, the perfect treatment of a life that seems at times to be stranger than fiction. I challenge anyone who scoffs at graphic novels as literature to experience Fun Home, and challenge those who harbour no such notions to still do the same.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 8 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618477944
Subtitle:
A Family Tragicomic
Author:
Bechdel, Alison
Author:
Forney, Ellen
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Cartoonists
Subject:
Graphic Novels - General
Subject:
CGN000000
Subject:
Graphic Novels
Subject:
Cartoonists -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
June 8, 2006
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Two-color throughout
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.63 in 1.13 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Alternative
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Nonfiction

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780618477944 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication than Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a 'still life with children' that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Bechdel's memoir offers a graphic narrative of uncommon richness, depth, literary resonance and psychological complexity....The results are painfully honest, occasionally funny and penetratingly insightful."
"Review" by , "Bechdel's long-running Dykes to Watch Out For is arguably the best comic strip going, and Fun Home is one of the very best graphic novels ever."
"Review" by , "[S]plendid....More than the witty art, more than the mordant prose, it is this openness that distinguishes Bechdel's generous and intelligent work....[I]t has a depth and sweetness few can match at five times the length. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "A pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions... Bechdel's rich language and precise images combine to create a lush piece of work — a memoir where concision and detail are melded for maximum, obsessive density."
"Review" by , "[R]iveting....Fun Home is a beautiful, assured piece of work, by far the best thing Bechdel has done in over two decades as a cartoonist....Bechdel's cartooning has transmuted his life and death into an extraordinary book..."
"Review" by , "[A] revelation: Here is a panel-and-drawings book that feels like a true literary achievement, something with characters who baffle and disappoint and break hearts the way people do in life and in the best of prose."
"Review" by , "If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you'd have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home."
"Review" by , "Alison Bechdel — she's one of the best, one to watch out for."
"Review" by , "Stupendous. Alison Bechdel's mesmerizing feat of familial resurrection is a rare, prime example of why graphic novels have taken over the conversation about American literature. The details — visual and verbal, emotional and elusive — are devastatingly captured by an artist in total control of her craft."
"Review" by , "Brave and forthright and insightful — exactly what Alison Bechdel does best."
"Review" by , "The year's best (graphic) novel is brilliantly conceived and fearlessly executed, and you will not soon forget your journey through it."
"Review" by , "At times, Bechdel's prose gets a little opaque — not because she's a bad writer, but because I didn't pay attention in high school....Fun Home is an intricate document of a childhood that, ultimately, was enough like mine — only with a few more literary references — that for me, it worked."
"Review" by , "Bechdel's drawing style is simple but effective."
"Review" by , "A comic book for lovers of words! Bechdel's rich language and precise images combine to create a lush piece of work."
"Synopsis" by ,

Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between andldquo;crazyandrdquo; and andldquo;creativeandrdquo; in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers.

and#160;

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.

Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia Oandrsquo;Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to andldquo;cureandrdquo; an otherwise brilliant mind.

Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forneyandrsquo;s memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artistandrsquo;s work, as she shares her own story through bold black-and-white images and evocative prose.

"Synopsis" by ,
In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.

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, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

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