Fun fact (ha ha) about Fun Home: Alison Bechdel attended my university (Bard College at Simon’s Rock) for a short period of time before transferring to Oberlin. She’s one of our very few famous alumni and we’re very proud of her– with good reason! She’s incredible!
Fun Home is a must read for anyone who has a complicated relationship with their family, and who doesn’t, really? Also a must read for anyone planning on seeing the musical, although seeing the musical before reading the book would work just as well. Bechdel is brilliant, highly sensitive and thoughtful, and extremely well-read, drawing beautiful connections between James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Wallace Stevens, Greek myths (most prominently Icaurs), and her own family.
Admittedly, there isn’t so much a plot as there are several key events between which Bechdel draws ever-growing and shifting parallels, and I can concede that a critique of navel gazing could be applied. I read Fun Home in one sitting of about three hours and reread it after a few weeks of obsessively listening to the Broadway soundtrack. I admit that I was apprehensive about the graphic novel format, having never been a fan of cartoons or comics, but I found it easy to follow and extremely engaging. For a quick sense of the book’s mood and plot arc, listen to “It All Comes Back” or “Telephone Wire” from the soundtrack of the musical adaptation. If you’re not at least intrigued, you might not be interested in the book.
Availability: USMAI, COSMOS and SMCM
Review Submitted by: Molly McGowan
Rating: Must Read
Challenge: A book you can read in one day