Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
An incredible part of this book is it's full of surprises, so I am not willing to give away any plot details (unless you've read it, then call me and let's talk forever!) but I'll discuss other elements I loved.
Fun Home is an autobiography about a small-town Pennsylvania family, yes, but it's full of literary allusions—an English major's dream come true. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Camus, James Joyce, Proust, some Greek mythology...to just name a few. I felt smarter as I read each page.
The emotional journey of the protagonist is so relatable, and really causes you to reflect on your own upbringing, however different it may have been from Bechdel's. She uses a lot of her childhood journals to piece things together, and, as I was a "journaling child" that made me smile.
Another thing I've never appreciated about graphic novels until reading this book is how very few words they get to tell a story. Her word choice is on-point, with almost a poetic quality.
Do you want to buy a copy yet? Well, I feel like a should mention a couple things regarding content. I think this book would be an amazing read, both for males and females, as it explores issues both sexes face, but it does not restrain itself on the female side. If you are a grown, mature man who literally can't look at a box of tampons without squirming....maybe get over it, first, then read this book. If you can't get over it, I hope with every fiber of my being that you are blessed with five beautiful daughters.
Also, if you are a grown, mature adult who has no problem in the world with heterosexual sex scenes, but just can't handle homosexual sex scenes, you should reconsider the "grown" and "mature" adjectives, read some James Baldwin, and then this book. ;)
Disclaimers aside: Everyone should read this, for their own sake. But also, because I want to talk about it with everyone.
And now, I need to know: Any other graphic novels I've been missing out on? I feel like Fun Home is my gateway into graphic novels, and I couldn't be more excited to explore a new genre.
p.s. Does Alison Bechdel's name sound familiar to you? You're probably thinking of the famous Bechdel test and, yep, same person.
p.p.s. Although I struggle to imagine how this story could translate into a Broadway musical—others did not. It won a Tony in 2015. So now, given my love for Broadway, I must see it.