Alison Bechdel, who is best known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For wrote the autobiographical comic, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, with one of the most intelligent and insightful autobiographical comics. Her graphics avoids the normal confessional, self-obsessed nature of much autobiography by focusing not just on Alison herself but on her and her father’s complicated relationship. The subtitle’s “Tragicomic” also signals an interesting theme throughout the book: the way her and her dad are complete opposites but so similar at the same time. The narrative unfolds in an unusual manner that makes it difficult to describe especially with the graphics that end a completely different element to the story. The story weaves around the central events of her father’s death and her learning, a few months earlier, that he was gay but if she had known that before his death, would it have made them closer or push them further away? It is particularly interesting to note how this novel engages readers in a serious discussion of the ways our parents can scar us. While Bruce Bechdel is shown to have an explosive temper and be prone to the occasional violent outburst, it is the distance he creates in the household that seems to cause the most harm: “It was a vicious circle, though. The more gratification we found in our own geniuses, the more isolated we grew…and in this isolation, our creativity took on an aspect of compulsion” (134). Bechdel then goes on to show the period of time in which her obsessive-compulsive disorder took hold of her as a sort of coping mechanism for all the tough things going on in her life. She made up things such as redressing and dressing in a certain order, or never using odd numbers. This is shown with incredible detail in her pictures. In the graphics, it also shows her representation of her mother is with a pursed mouth, sideways glances, and body positioning...
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