Thursday, February 5, 2015

Week Five: A Tragicomic

Though I'm an avid reader, I honestly haven't read that many memoirs in my life. It's never my first choice for pleasure reading. But, the few that I have read for assigned reading in classes have been enjoyable. One of my favorites is one that I read last semester for my graphic novel class. It's a graphic novel called Fun Home, written by Alison Bechdel.

Fun Home is considered a "tragicomic," meaning that it's part tragedy, all comic. In the memoir, Bechdel explores her complicated relationship with her father, who just committed suicide. She looks at different parts of her childhood-- growing up working at the family funeral home-- and what it all meant years later. She also explores her the idea of self after learning about her father's own hidden affairs and the facade he wore in life.

The memoir is dark, yet funny, and Bechdel humorously illustrates parts of her life. The story is heartbreaking, but I love the blatant honesty in which it is told. Bechdel really focuses on the key elements of her childhood that revolve around her father, while musing on how her life ended up the way that it did. She is a true expert in her subject, clearly doing the required research to make a memoir successful. She is seamlessly able to make real life connections to authors Camus and Fitzgerald and tie them back to her childhood.

The memoir really takes hold of the idea of exploration of self. It makes you take a look at family and past and what things means when you look back on them years later. When Bechdel looks back on her relationship with her father and how it changed over time, it really make me look at my own relationships. From an outsider perspective, it also made me look differently at identities and the facades we wear at certain points in our own lives.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds similar to Running for Scissors. Good choice.