[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]
Fun Home is Alison Bechdel’s epic memoire. It is the story of her growing from child to young adult, her relationship with her family, and her father’s apparent suicide. It is the story of the crazy old farmhouse she grew up in and the “fun home” (funeral home) her family owns. It is also the story of her discovering her identity as a lesbian.
Bechdel writes with a lot of humor, and the story goes by quickly. On the other hand, both she and her father both describe their lives through literature. Much of the wit and humor of this book leans on readers knowing a bit of writers like James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Henry James. Bechdel’s vocabulary is also sophisticated, meaning that at times it may be a difficult read.
Warning: Although there are no scenes of violence, suicide is a major theme in this story.
My two cents: In the beginning, it seemed like the father was simply a villain. As I read, however, I was intrigued as he morphed from a plain villain into Oscar Wilde, then into Nixon and something with greater secrets.