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May Books 4) Fun Home

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

pocketnaomi 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 annafdd 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.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Not only I read it all in one go, which is increasingly rare fore me, but I have been thinking about it in terms of my own life ever since.
May. 6th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
I don't think it's ever even occurred to me to read REMEMBERANCE OF THINGS PAST. I believe I will take this to mean I shall never hit middle age, much less get old. :)

I don't think I've ever seen you say "this is really really good" before. I may have to go look for it. :)
May. 6th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
I got it for Christmas, read it in one sitting, and was most impressed. Most "adult" thing I'd read in a while.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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