I can't speak highly enough of this book. If you like intelligent books, you need to read it. If you like graphic novels, you need to read it. Bechdel became my comic writing role model with this book, basically.
Lesbian/gay or straight, I think you'll enjoy this "tragicomic." To be honest, although it was called a graphic memoir, I didn't realize this is quite literally a comic book, though it is not fanciful but an actual portrayal of her life from years eightish to twenty.
This book/comic mainly seems to deal with her relationship with her father, both before and after death. It might seem a bit repititious to some.
Most of all, I enjoyed her comparisons to Proust, Fitzgerald, et cetera throughout the book; her father taught high school English and it's quite obvious she's well-read. She uses similes about other authors in a funny way.
Anyhow, overall, a great book. For a comic book, it's very verbose.
I would not recommend you lend this to your children (unless you're liberal about those kind of things); pictures exist that show her and her girlfriend in bed (nothing too graphic, I assure you).
An amazing memoir. The orchestration and pacing of it are lovely and the last page gave me chills for weeks. This is the first book I recommend to people who have never read a graphic novel before, Bechdel really uses the medium to full effect.
Interesting and provocative book...I now know what a "graphic novel" is! I enjoyed her literary contrasting of her father, with Joyce and Proust. Enjoyed her humor, and especially her introspection of life with her family, versus others and stories from great literature. What a sense of loss for her, right as she was coming to terms with her lesbianism. What a relationship they could have had if he had lived. I enjoyed this; moves quickly...like a comic "graphic novel"!
This book was a disappointment for me. I was expecting something wonderful, based on the glowing reviews the book has been given, but I found it mediocre at best.
For starters, the story is incredibly depressing, with no real uplifting moments. We enter a picture of a very sad, lonely, abusive childhood, in which an absent-minded mother, and angry, violent, controlling father do their best not to interact with their three children, who develop neurotic tendencies to cope with the misery. The narrator evidently has only one friend in childhood, who is very briefly mentioned in two scenes, and I found myself wondering if the author's childhood was really as featureless and lacking in joyful childish respite as she makes it seem.
Her writing comes across as incredibly cold and overly-intellectual, with feelings rarely acknowledged or depicted, and the adult narrator's voice drowning out any hints of the child, who probably has an interesting story to tell. The book would probably have been better suited to standard word-based storytelling, as the author keeps a stranglehold on the device of narration, never letting the images tell the story.
The main character, the author as a child and young woman, never seems to develop any real relationships with other characters besides the oppressive figure of her father, which is another strange and disorientating feature of the book. Her father comes across as a miserable, abusive a-hole, with no redeeming qualities, so having to read a few hundred pages about him is trying.
Another thing that bothered me was the author's tendency to constantly apologise for her own opinions within the context of the story, never stating anything with certainty or confidence (this made the lasting effect of her childhood painfully clear). There are claims that this book contains humour, but I detected none whatsoever, buried as the story was beneath a mountain of tragedy and pain.
This may have been an important form of self-therapy for the author, but it is not an enjoyable or very enlightening read.
A woman reflects back on her upbringing with her mother who studies theater and her father, an English teacher / funeral home director / interior designer in this graphic memoir. There is a lot of sexual tension and angst and outright sexually explicit panels. It also deals with homosexuality, so if you're not okay with that sort of thing, don't bother reading this. I liked it, though the homosexual scenes made me uncomfortable (and I'm not a homophobe).
I have wanted to read this graphic novel for a long time. It just sounded so interesting and it was very interesting. Its incredibly well done, very funny, emotionally engaging, and full of interesting literary references.
This is an autobiographical novel by Bechdel and it was incredibly engaging and well done. Alison lives with her interior decorating obsessed father. Her father is also manic-depressive and a closet gay man. As you can imagine the marriage between Alisons father and mother is very strained. To add to the macabre humor of it all Alisons father owns and runs a funeral home which they call the Fun Home.
The book bounces between a number of times in Alisons life. From when she was a child to an adult and back to a child. It is mainly told as a reflection of her growing up with her father after she hears about his death. She thinks about the many things she saw him doing as a child that she didnt really understand until she got older.
Woven through all of this story is Alisons own realization that she is a lesbian and what that confession did (or didnt do) to her family. You get to watch as Alisons dad struggles to form her into the perfect girl that he could never be (and Alison never wanted to be) and as Alisons dad sneaks off for secret liaisons with other men.
The story takes place in a rural and very non-tolerant town in Pennsylvania mainly in the late 70s and early 80s. Bits and pieces of the history of era are woven throughout the story.
Alisons father also had a deep love for literature, which Alison herself develops as she gets older. This provides a bridge between Alison and her father, we also get to read a lot of literature references throughout the story that have meaning to our characters lives.
This is a book that is easy to read and at first seems a bit meandering, but it is also incredibly thought-provoking. It does an excellent job of making you look on and reflect on your own life. I especially enjoyed how the characters feelings for each other ebb and flow and they go from understanding and relating to each other to hating each other. The whole thing just captures family dynamics very well (if a bit more dramatically than most families).
The drawing throughout is very well done. Its a fairly simple style interspersed with some very detailed lifelike drawings. I pretty much read the whole book in one sitting and loved the way it ended.
This is one of those very complex and emotional novels that will make you laugh, cry, wonder and consider how society influences relationships. Its very masterfully done and was impossible to put down.
Overall a very masterfully done graphic novel autobiography. Really I have never read anything like this before. I highly recommend it. I would recommend for older teen or adult only, there are some graphic sex scenes and discussion about sex. I bet this is one of those books they are recommending for GLBT classes in college...there is just so much in here to discuss and think about.
This is a very different kind of book, and the first graphic memoir that I have read. It tends to flow nicely, and the story is engrossing at times. Yet, I did not feel as though there was much insight gained. Overall, I could have taken or left it. Yet, there is quite a bit of depth to it regarding human sexuality and self-discovery.
I have never even considered reading a graphic novel, so was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to read this autobiography, which I did in 1 sitting. It was brilliantly illustrated and brilliantly written, although I have to say that the frames depicting the author and her lover were a little TMI... Must be open-minded for this one.