Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Another book club pick, another kind of ‘meh’ book for me. It’s only the second (I think) graphic novel I’ve ever read, and while I think I like the concept of graphic novels, I’m not sure. Given that this is supposed to be one of the best ones, and I just found it to be okay, I’m guessing maybe they just aren’t for me.
The topic of the book is very interesting: it’s about Ms. Bechdel’s relationship with her father, who died when she was 20. He presented himself as a straight man, but throughout this novel we find out more and more reasons to believe that he was gay, or possibly bisexual. He also ran the family funeral (‘fun’) home as a part time job. Meanwhile, Ms. Bechdel deals with her own childhood challenges, such as not liking ‘girlie’ clothes, and eventually realizing that she is a lesbian.
The graphics are really well done, and I feel like I understand the story Ms. Bechdel is telling. I also appreciate how many literary references she includes. But one thing that bothered me a bit and led to this three-star rating was the language. It seemed overly flowery, and took more works than necessary to tell the story. I recognize that is a specific style choice, but it’s one that I don’t usually like. I found it kind of perfect that in the very beginning she talks about how her father loved restoring their home to this really ornate building, while her preference was more sleek lines, metal, modern. In terms of this book, I felt like her words were the ornateness, and I was looking for something more sleek.