ALISON BECHDEL has been a careful archivist of her own life and kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983 she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized "Dykes to Watch Out For" strip, "one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period" (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as "one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century."
Bechdel offers a graphic memoir, if you will, about growing up with a remote dad who managed a funeral home (see the title) while hiding his homosexuality; the author herself came out as a teen. Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip is syndicated in 50 alternative publications. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication that Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a "still life with children" that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
[Alison Bechdel] hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best...She's made a story that's quiet [and] dignified. Publishers Weekly, Starred
[With] uncommon richness [and] depth...[Fun Home] shares as much in spirit with...other contemporary memoirists of considerable literary accomplishment. Kirkus Reviews, Starred "Alison Bechdel - she's one of the best, one to watch out for. --Harvey Pekar If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you'd have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. --Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You Brave and forthright and insightful--exactly what Alison Bechdel does best. --Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina Stupendous...mesmerizing...The details...are devastatingly captured by an artist in total control of her craft. --Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys One of the very best graphic novels ever. Booklist, ALA, Starred Review Fun Home must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced. . . . pioneering. --Sean Wilsey The New York Times Book Review TIME Best Book of the Year: A masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other. Time Magazine One of the best memoirs of the decade ... at once hypercontrolled and utterly intimate. --New York Magazine, 10 Best Books of 2006 New York Magazine Fun Home must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced ... a pioneering work. --Sean Wilsey The New York Times Book Review A revelation ... feels like a true literary achievement, something with characters who baffle and disappoint and break hears the way people do in life and in the best of prose. Minneapolis Star-Tribune Graphic storytelling at its most profound. --a Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of 2006 The Los Angeles Times