Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Letters/Cover artist: Alison Bechdel
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Price: $13.95 US (softcover) / $19.95 US (hardcover)
It may seem like I’m late in the game when it comes to reviewing this award-winning and much-lauded graphic novel, but given the recent release of the softcover edition of the book, it merits some extra attention now anyway. Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical exploration of her dysfunction family dynamic, her father’s repressed sexuality and the parallels she sees in her own sexual awakening during her youth is a challenging read. It’s also enlightening with the information the author provides and impressive when it comes to the depths of her honesty. Earlier chapters are certainly stronger than those toward the end of the book, as the creator becomes mired in literary parallels, but ultimately, her matter-of-fact narration and sense of personal isolation make it surprisingly easy to relate to her and her odd upbringing. Her cartooning is remarkably effective at establishing the dreariness and quiet of small-town existence as well. Perhaps what’s most encouraging about this project is how it has reached out beyond the traditional niche comics market and demonstrated the power of the medium to an audience that’s not so obsessed with super-heroes and swordsmen.