**** Fun Home A Family Tragicomic By Alison Bechdel
Or, maybe not so fun.
Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, taps her skills as both writer and illustrator in this graphic memoir. The author came of age in an impeccably restored--and incredibly cloistered--Victorian home on Maple Avenue in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. "We ate together, but otherwise were absorbed in our separate pursuits," she writes. While she wrote and drew and her brothers went their own ways, her emotionally distant father pursued sex with young boys. An English teacher, funeral parlor director, and historic preservationist, he tried to hide his homosexuality until his untimely death (or suicide). In this environment Bechdel, yearning for a close father-daughter relationship but unaware of her father's travails, discovered her own homosexuality and started to make sense of her own history.
Houghton Mifflin. 232 pages. $19.95. ISBN: 0618477942
NY Times Book Review ****1/2
"If the theoretical value of a picture is still holding steady at a thousand words, then Alison Bechdel's slim yet Proustian graphic memoir, Fun Home , must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced. It is a pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions." SEAN WILSEY
New York Times ****
"Throughout the memoir, but most especially here, the magic of the graphic format emerges. Ms. Bechdel's qualms, trepidation, and excitement emerge from the words and images working together. Somehow adding the two ingredients together conveys more than either one could do alone." GEORGE GENE GUSTINES
Portland Oregonian ****
"The year's best (graphic) novel is brilliantly conceived and fearlessly executed, and you will not soon forget your journey through it.... In Bechdel's hands, that relationship between narrative and illustration is complex and ever-changing, often seeming to be at cross-purposes until the novelist brings them, through creative will, into harmonious union." STEVE DUIN
San Francisco Chronicle ***
"The recurring image of her father comes from classical mythology: Daedalus, the architect of the Labyrinth who wrought wings for himself and his son Icarus out of feathers and wax. Like Daedalus on Crete, Bruce Bechdel was trapped in the insular world of a...