Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” is both biography and autobiography. On the one hand we focus a lot on her father and how his life largely shapes and sometimes mirrors her own. Yet, it’s also how his life impacts her and how she’s the woman she is when the book closes during her college years. Regardless of how you’d categorize this book it doesn’t diminish the power of how our parents influence our lives. While most fathers may not be mysterious, enigmatic, and aloof, you can tell there’s a special relationship between Alison and her father. At least they both seem to recognize it before the book ends: they both respect each other even though they may not understand each other.
I have grown to enjoy the graphic novel genre as a means to convey someone’s life. It’s like listening to someone tell their life story while also looking at accompanying photographs. It makes the life seem that much fuller and complex. There’s a lot of the Bechdel family that Ms. Bechdel shares with us. There’s also a lot she doesn’t know and/or doesn’t share with us regarding her parents. This makes for a great book club read as we all have figured in our lives that can’t be removed from our own life stories but who we may not fully understand.