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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stuff of Interest - May 2006 - Fun Home

FUN HOME Graphic Novel
by Alison Bechdel

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.

Hardcover, 6x9, 236pgs, B&W $19.95
MAR063248 Houghton Mifflin

I've enjoyed some of Bechdel's work (her Dykes to Watch Out For strip), so it's good to see her doing a longer form work from a mainstream publisher. The more recent Dykes strips I've read seemed to be more constrained by both the format and the history, so she should do well with a long work starting from scratch.

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