This is actually a re-read I’m doing for university, but I read it so many years ago that I thought a brief review was in order. Fun Home is a classic of lesbian non-fiction written by Alison Bechdel (made famous for her comics Dykes to Watch Out For, as well as the Bechdel test).
Fun Home talks about everything. Primarily it is a graphic memoir about Bechdel’s relationship with her father, and how that intersected with the process of coming out to herself and her parents. Along the way, it also manages to talk about small towns, funeral directors, OCD, literature, and puberty.
I could understand why people find this pretentious. I mean, it is pretentious. I kinda wonder how I understood it when I read it before – I’d not read Joyce and Stevens and Fitzgerald then. There are wealths of metaphors that I don’t think 15 year old me could have understood (but kind-of emotionally did anyway. I was desperate for LGBT+ literature at that age).
But, despite all of that, I really love this book. It is one of my few 5-stars on Goodreads, I love it that much. I really like the art style:
The sketchy style of it really fits the story, I think. I’m no artist, but it just works in my opinion.
This is a story that indefinably speaks to me. I don’t think it is just because it was one of the few LGBT+ stories I read as a teenager, although that is definitely a part of it. I identify with Bechdel. I’m not butch and I’m not actually a lesbian and she goes through experiences that I’ve never had, but there is something about her small-town home and her surreptitious reading of LGBT+ literature that captures who I was at 15. However, I found a depth of meaning in this re-read that I definitely didn’t get when I was a teenager – this is definitely book that grows with you. (I’ll be sure to re-read it when I’m 25 to see if I have the same thoughts!)
Finally, in the process of writing this review, I came across the information that Fun Home had been turned into a musical! (I laughed out loud at the irony of this, and for that I do not apologise!) I’d really love to see it – Bechdel wrote a brief coda that was published online to explain her thoughts about it. Once again, her writing is full of honesty. I really need to read her other works.