Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

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A fresh and brilliantly told memoir at a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a household funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.

This breakout book by Alison Bechdel can be a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel’s sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, it is a story exhilaratingly best for graphic memoir form.

Meet Alison’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer from the family’s Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a higher school English teacher, an icily distant parent, along with a closeted homosexual who, as it so happens, is associated with his male students and a family group babysitter. Through narrative that is certainly alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, were drawn in to a daughter’s complex yearning on her father. And yet, in addition to assigned stints dusting caskets on the family-owned “fun home,” as Alison and her brothers refer to it as, the partnership achieves its most intimate expression from the shared code of books. When Alison happens as homosexual herself in late adolescense, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.

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