May Books 4) Fun Home

4) Fun Home: a family tragicomedy, by Alison Bechdel

recommended this to me a while back, and it was one of the 20 listed by Nerve, so ended up on my birthday list – thanks, Caroline! Also has just read it.

This is a tremendous piece of work; beautifully drawn, beautifully scripted. One takes it as autobiography, but in a sense it doesn’t really matter, it’s a superb literary achievement whether you treat it as fact or fiction. Alison Bechdel shows and tells the story of her father, whose homosexuality she discovered shortly after herself coming out as a lesbian, and shortly before his mysterious death. In life, he was obsessed with restoring their family home, with a level of effort that he never really put into maintaining the family. The “fun home” of the title is not in fact the family house, but the father’s day job – a funeral home, “fun home” for short.

Lots of references to literature, carefully woven into the text. In years to come, people will give course on the layers of text in this book. One line that really hit home for me was “It’s said, after all, that people reach middle age the day they realize they’re never going to read Remembrance of Things Past.” I know what I’m bringing on the plane tomorrow.

This is really really good. Go and read it.

Top UnSuggestions for this book:

  1. The Testament by John Grisham
  2. The street lawyer by John Grisham
  3. The brethren by John Grisham

Yep, Alison Bechdel is the anti-John Grisham. Oddly enough it is the third on the list, The Brethren, which returns the favour.

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