Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Plot

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a remarkable "darkly funny" illustrated memoir by Alison Bechdel that focuses on her family life and mostly about her complicated odd relationship with her father, Bruce. Incidents of her life were told in a unique manner. It doesn't flow completely continuously like a story but told in organized fragments as she controls what she wants the reader to see. It includes interesting several references to different types of literature which her father's love for it has deeply influenced her.

Bruce Bechdel had an unhealthy obsessive passion for historical restoration (pg 7) of the family's gothic Victorian house they lived in. It's unhealthy because his compulsive ways were affecting the family as he forces the kids to help him modify the house. He was a high school teacher, a part-time director for a funeral home (pg 33) and was closeted homosexual "who, as it turns out, was involved with his male students and a family babysitter"(cover). After Alison announced that she was a lesbian, her mother revealed her father was gay too (pg 23). She looks back and realized small hints that suggested it and soon everything starts to make more sense.

Bruce died from getting hit by a truck and Alison's family strongly believes it wasn't an accident. There's no proof but the fact that her mother has asked him for a divorce two weeks (pg 27) is quite a suggestive circumstance. Alison mentions that on the final evening, the last time she was with her dad, "a family friend remarked admiringly to Joan on the close relationship between my father and me. It was unusual, and we were close, but not close enough" (pg 225) She craves for her father and from this narrative, seeks to understand and relate to him.

[Page 220 illustrates the little awkward moment between father and daughter on the way to the theatre. Them opening up towards each other about their sexuality.]

Alison Bechdel illustrates another graphic memoir called Are You My Mother? which now focuses on her mother. A character that was not well-rounded or further developed in Fun Home. It's something she has been working on for five years. A book that would wonderfully tie in with her first. It's going to be very interesting to see through her mother's viewpoint of her life and why she decides to stick with Bruce for a very long time.

The following links leads to her progress on her latest work:
Painful Long Process
Accumulation of Work


Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.

" » Blog." Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <>.

Heather Agoncillo

1 comment:

  1. I totally did not know that she was working on another piece. It sounds very interesting and promising. As you pointed out and I'm quite sure as all "Fun Home" reader's realize that Alison's mother was clearly NOT the pivotal 'character' in the memoir. I hope that does not sound like I am diluting her importance in their family dynamic, but like you said it her character was not well-rounded.

    I just finished reading Catherine's last post, which explores Bruce's relationship with his wife, and also Alison's relationship with her mother. I think that Catherine's post was a great summary of all the information that you can gather from "Fun Home" about Alison's mother. So if you are a reader that hasn't read the book and is curious as to what I'm talking about, check out Catherine's post. It's everything you need to know about Alison's mother.

    So this is going to be a very interesting read. I think this will be an excellent addition to "Fun Home". It will fill in that gap, and really allow us readers to see the more complete life story of Alison Bechdel and Bruce Bechdel. I can already see from the cover that she's going to use red as her colour accent this time.

    I also had NO idea that she actually hand inked all the lettering. Oh my OCD! How!?!?! It's so tedious, I can see myself exploding due to my lack of patience if I were to do such a task! Oh I have respect for her commitment.

    So this is cool, this is an article that I found where Alison tells how she told her mother about “Fun Home”. I should post this on Catherine’s post too.
    “What the Little Old Ladies Feel: How I told my mother about my memoir”

    -Leanne Lau