Things in Print Thursday :: monthly book review [Fun Home]

30 Jun

Wow man.

This has been a weird, not good Pride month. I think we can all agree on this. And being entirely honest, this weirdness extended a little bit into my family life, in the somewhat indirect way that such things are often weird, even though my bisexuality (and I know I’m lucky to be able to say this) has never officially been contested by family members. Unofficially contested, certainly, not discussed and ignored in turn, of course, but not made a direct issue of. Regardless, the state of the world in regards to this Pride month and the thing it celebrates having pride in has contributed in turn to the state of my mental health this month. That’s just unavoidable fact.

All of this is to say… my reaction to Fun Home was also a visceral, personal thing. Extremely. Not because the circumstances of my life are exactly the same, because they’re not. They’re fairly opposite in some cases. But the subject matter is still really, really familiar and intimate and emotionally involving.

To wit: Bechdel sets her “utilitarian,” “butch” aesthetic self up from the beginning of the book, as a narrative clue that she was in fact the one of those things not like the others. Conversely, I was an absurdly femmey little girl who bordered on the accidentally misandrist, but my devoted attention to girls has often struck me as something that should have been a sign that I was one of those things not like the others. While the nature of the differing gender expression is, well, different, it’s… still really intense to read about.  It’s also interesting from an academic perspective to see how being very girly and being not girly at all can actually point toward a similar emotional revelation.

Bechdel’s family situation is different than mine. Her father, as she learns later, enjoys the company of men, which casts her coming out in a different light entirely and one that’s not even fully about her.  My parents are, to my knowledge and with occasional celebrity exceptions that they may or may not openly admit to, heterosexual, and my coming out was both more and less dramatic and not tied to anything like that. But the family awkwardness in various ways – not just about sexuality – is also poignant and painful and interesting.

Friends, I’m just really into graphic memoirs. I think they get a lot of personal points across really well and I am a big fan.

–your fangirl heroine.



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