How well do we know the people in our lives - even (especially) those we love? This is the big question that arises from Fun Home, Alison Bechdel's graphic novel about growing up in a funeral home with her father, a closeted gay man locked into a traditional marriage and family life. As Alison comes of age and becomes comfortable with her own sexual identity as a lesbian, she uncovers her father's secrets and grapples with the possibility that his supposedly accidental death may not have been an accident. It's a thought-provoking and beautifully-rendered graphic novel about the complex intertwining of family and identity.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)
At its core, Fun Home is the story of a young girl growing up in a small town trying to understand herself and relate to her detached father. To complicate things, both Alison Bechdel and her father are gay. While Bechdel contemplates and eventually confronts her identity, her father resolutely stuffs his down. I stumbled on this book unaware of its cult status among the LGBT and feminist communities. I understood it simply as a memoir of a childhood marked by a rocky home life and a desire to understand oneself – something many of us can relate to, homosexual or otherwise. Bechdel is a good writer, and her art style allows her to take some complicated emotional experiences and simplify them while accenting their absurdity. Book lovers will appreciate her many literary references. Heartbreaking and hopeful, with a large dose of sardonic wit, this is a great read for graphic novel fans and traditional book lovers alike. Fun fact: this book has recently been adapted to a hugely popular Broadway musical!
Shaun (Staff) (Hespeler Library)